Col. Lawrence Wilkerson has a face only a mother could love, but last night I wanted to kiss him on the lips. Lawrence O’Donnell annoys me, but wait for it, around 3 minutes. It’s worth it. Gen. Colin Powell’s State Department office must have been an interesting place. To this day I think he only stuck out Bush’s first term because he’s a soldier and they don’t quit. Then he went home and took a very long hot shower. The more I see General Powell speak unfettered the more I like the man.
Let’s talk about the good folks in wine. I’ve certainly ran into a few of them lately. What do you say about a night that involves Papillion, Leviathan, Cain Five, Symphony3 and David Bruce? And that was just one of the tables. This is why I love my pals at Pleasant Hill Wine Merchants. I’m a big David Bruce fan. The mission of the winery is “To make the World’s Greatest Pinot Noir”. And it’s been that way for years. Long before Pinot Noir became trendy. Pinot is one of the hardest wines to get right and David Bruce does that all day long. They had the Sonoma County out on one table and the Russian River out on another. What’s really funny is that I have a bottle of his Cab in my cellar. No Pinot. I think I drank it all. The Sonoma County was actually a little better balanced than the Russian River. Typically full of dark cherries, vanilla and oak, smooth and beautiful. The Russian River was a little more “in your face” about it, but it had amazing depth and character.
I love Orin Swift’s wines too. Papillon is a real “in your face” Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeux blend, sort of. I don’t know the rules but I think you need more than 2% of Cab Franc and Malbec. Anyway, it’s a big wine, the kind you can drink alone or with food. Very fruit forward with deep dark blackberries and cherries rolling around. A bit of smokiness and vanilla in the gentle finish. I love this wine.
Next up was the Leviathan. Sometimes I love this and sometimes it just doesn’t seem right to me. I assume it has to do with how my palate is feeling and what I’ve had to eat recently. It’s a Cabernet Franc based blend the defies logic. This thing is made by Andy Erickson and Anie Favia. Yeah, Screaming Eagle is on their resume. Really dark fruit, deep and rich. To me this wine doesn’t feel like it has the legs to lay down for more than a couple of years, but time will tell. That being said, I’d pour it with spicy food that needed to be calmed down by a big fruit forward red.
Next up, the 2005 Cain Five. This one was a true Bordeux blend. That’s why they call it five. And it behaves like a true Bordeux, it needs to lay down for at least a few years. It wasn’t quite there yet. At $100+ per bottle, you like it to be a little more there. I think in time, this one will develop nicely over time but right now it’s just young in the bottle. All the swirling in the world wasn’t letting that one open up. I’d like to revisit this wine in about five more years and see what develops. I would expect the harsh tannins would disappear and the fruit would become elegant, but it’s hard to speculate at $100+ a bottle.
There was probably another 25 wines there. I had about half of them including a Fort Ross Chardonnay that had so much gasoline on the nose that it was really hard to get past it. And it tasted like metal. Yet I ended up with a bottle of their Pinotage. Go figure. It’s got a long story involving Davis, so here you go. It was the most interesting wine on that particular table. It had the earthiness of a Pinot, some vanilla, oak and Earl Grey in the back palate. Gentle tannins and a refined finish. Very interesting wine.