Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cayuse dinner from November 2008...

Why should I deprive you of notes and events I wrote and attended before starting this blog? I agree, it would be criminal if I did so here are the notes from a dinner that Trey Busch and I put together for all of the Cayuse freaks out there. I don't need to go into detail about my obsession with Cayuse but let's just say that Cayuse is to me as Mary Jane is to Cheech and Chong...

Cayuse Dinner at Wild Ginger, November 2008

First, I'd like to thank Ole, Shane, and the crew at Wild Ginger. They took care of us with class and consideration--which can be hard to do with the motley crew we had there. If any of you are thinking of putting together a wine event or just want a fun place to eat, the Ginger is the place to go. Second, thanks to Trey for helping me put this damn good time together. Couldn't have got it done without the "Magician!" Thirdly, I'd like to thank Christophe for making the kick ass wines we threw down. Lastly, I'd like to thank every person that took time away from their family or the TV to sit down and drink some wine!

I don't need to go into detail about how we were taken aback at the generousity of Christophe, Trevor, and the Cayuse gang for contributing mags of every vintage of the Frog and a mag of the NB since a couple people have already described it. Did I mention that Christophe brought a mag of each Frog and NB?!! As with Trey, James, and anyone else who took notes, as the night went on the notes became shorter and shorter. Here are my notes and thoughts for the evening--to the best of my drunk-ass ability!

99 Dom -- Biscuit-y, citrus, honey, yeast-y. Decades left for this champagne. I'm afraid Dr. Jay would give it a drinking window out to 2115. 95 pts.

04 viognier -- I have not been a fan of Cayuse's viognier (or viognier at all for that matter) but after drinking the 04 I think it just needs time to mellow out in the bottle. Nose of banana cream pie, apples, touch of vanilla. Coating mouthfeel with hints of acid. 90 pts.

99 Walla Walla Valley Syrah -- Last vintage before completely estate fruit. Nice smokiness with fresh fruit and a little pepper. Doesn't seem to be losing anything. 90pts.

05 God Only Knows Grenache -- the first vintage of this wine and what a kickin' wine it was. Mary Jane, stinky cheese, strawberries, and cherries on the nose. So delicate in the mouth but also possessing a presence. Very feminine and silky. Angelina Jolie comes to mind. 95pts.

01 Cailloux -- 2nd vintage from this vineyard. Australian in style as it still has tons of upfront fruit and a little oak. Dense and dark. Still going strong. Tasty. 91pts.

04 Cailloux -- Deep purple. Nose of minerals, pepper, flowers, smoke. Fresh fruit and spices in the mouth. Damn good. 93pts.

05 Cailloux -- A Knockout. Christophe said co-fermented with 2-3% viognier. Floral on the nose with dark fruits. Blackberries, black raspberries, great mouthfeel. 94pts.

05 Cailloux Wallah Wallah Neutral Barrel -- Most people's WOTN and tied for WOTN for me with the 01 BF. So funky that I think it must have been the dedicated drink for the ABA. Herby, stinky, silky, creamy. Also co-fermented with a bit more viognier that gave it a melon-y, pineappleness that was damn intruiging. Hope this gets released at some point. 97pts.

02 En Chamberlin -- Didn't have any notes written for this wine and I think it got lost in the shuffle for me.

03 En Chamberlin -- Muted nose but finally coaxed out some raspberries and cabbage. Lots of fruit in the mouth and a good finish. 92pts.

04 En Chamberlin -- Now we are talking funk, pickles, sour cherries, meat, bacon. Cayuse baby! 95pts.

05 En Chamberlin -- Closed a little bit. Not as expressive and explosive as the 05 I had a couple months back. More fruit than funk. Good but not as good as the 04. 92pts.

06 En Chamberlin -- Now we are talking, the sequel. Young but so funky and powerful. Blackberries, blueberries, sour cabbage, herbs, smoke, beef. Long finish. 95pts.

00 En Cerise -- First vintage from this vineyard. Again, a little Australian in style as with the 01 Caiiloux and the 99 WWV. Easy to drink and delicious but not with a ton of depth. 90pts.

02 En Cerise -- Roasted fruits, smoke, spices, jam. Very integrated bottle. 91pts.02 Coccinelle -- Have always been a fan of this vineyard. Lots of red fruits and smoky oak. Good acid that gave it a nice freshness. 90pts.

01 Flying Pig -- First vintage of the famous Right Banker. Definite Cayuse funk and herbs. Veggies, sweetness, minerals, good cab franc. 92pts.

03 Impulsivo -- Wow. What a blockbuster. Muscular, meaty, earthy, chocolate, dark fruits. Super long finish. Best tempranillo in US. 95pts.

04 Impulsivo -- Coffee, meats, vanilla, smoked oak. Not quite as good as the 03. 92pts.

05 Impulsivo -- Red and black fruits on the nose with a distinct smokiness. Another powerful tempranillo. 93pts.

04 Widowmaker --Corked. One of the bottles I brought :(

00 Bionic Frog -- Still kickin' for sure. Ruby red with spice, smoke, soy sauce, cherries, and some pepper. 92pts.

01 Bionic Frog -- Tied for my WOTN. This wine was in a perfect place. So seamless and smooth. Big nose of funk, stinky cheese, blackberries, toast, campfire. So polished in the mouth and so fresh --great acid. Integrated tannins and alcohol. My mouth just popped evertime I took a drink. So f'in good. 97pts.

02 Bionic Frog -- Kind of got lost in the shuffle as it was sandwiched between my two favorite Frogs. Good nose of blackberries and blueberries with hints of smoke. Very good wine but just didn't have the depth of the 01 and 03. 92 pts.

03 Bionic Frog -- Sour cherries, pickles, garbage (in a very good way), beef, blood, bacon, pork. Long way to go. Concentrated fruit. So close to the 01. 95 pts.

04 Bionic Frog -- Cinnamon, minerals, more soy, blackberries, black olives. Great fruit and depth. 94 pts.

05 Bionic Frog -- Looks like the odd years of the Frog are the shiznit. Blockbuster of a wine. Just leaps out in the glass begging to be drunk. Big aromas of bacon, beef meatiness, pepper, chocolate. Dark black fruits in the mouths. Extracted and concentrated. So tasty. 95 pts.

The wines that made the most impression on me were the Neutral Barrel, 01 Frog, 03 Frog, 05 Frog, 04 En Chamberlin, 06 En Chamberlin, 03 Impulsivo, 01 Flying pig, GOK Grenache, and the 05 Cailloux. I think the consensus of the group after this tasting was that Christophe needs to be discussed in the same circles as the best winemakers in the world. Christophe also finished the night off by buying three mags of champagne for the crowd. What a night!

A damn fine WA State Cabernet

I can't tell you how fortunate wine life can be sometimes. It never fails to happen at least once a year. You are innocently combing your cellar for a specific bottle (this day it was a 2004 Cadence Ciel du Cheval) and you suddenly come across a bottle that you forgot you had. This bottle for me was the 2004 Boudreaux Cellars Cab. I bought this bottle about 2 years ago after seeing Gary V rave about it on Winelibrary TV. I had seen Rob Newsom's wine around town but $50 is a lot to plunk down for a wine you know nothing about. Luckily, I came across that review and decided to take the plunge. Freakin' fantastic wine. I'm on the lookout for more as we speak!

2004 Boudreaux Cellas Cabernet Sauvignon
Opened about 30 minutes before gulping it down. I was shocked at how blood red this wine is, not blue/purple at all like Quilceda. Buttloads of red fruit on the nose--pomegranate, cassis, and cherries along with camphor, red licorice, and my favorite of all, sweat. That's right, sweat. Not in a SEC 300lb. defensive lineman kind of way but in a Megan Fox just ran the treadmill and broke a sweat kind of way. Lush and smooth in the mouth without ever being fleshy. Loaded with red fruits and raspberry liqueur showing great mouth density but never venturing toward excess weight. This wine was so balanced with lip smacking acidity paired with the red fruit sweetness with no signs of tannin, tartness, or oak. It was so suave and polished that I'm surprised the label isn't in the shape of an Armani tuxedo. Damn good. 95pts.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TN's: Two from Sleight of Hand

In honor of owner/winemaker Trey Busch, I've decided to rename these two wines after Pearl Jam songs as he is a big fan (understatement of the century). The rose I will dub "Glorified G" as I felt like a stone cold pimp strolling the neighborhood with my 1 1/2 year old daughter, Kate, drinking it out of a stemless showing the neighbors my Riedel "O" face. The chardonnay I'll rename "Alive" as that's the effect it had on my mouth, no New World chardonnay creamed butter here.

2008 Sleight of Hand "Glorified G" Cab Franc Rose
Another winner winner chicken dinner from Trey. I'd call him the "King of Rose" but I'm afraid any self-respecting winemaker may take that as a backhanded compliment. Sorry Trey! Served virtually ice cold at the outset. Ruby red color with aromas of spice, red fruits, a little watermelon, and baked rhubard. Sharp and tart at first, it eventually gives way to strawberry coulis and spiced watermelon. A Full mouthfeel, bright acidity, and lip smacking finish deliver another first rate rose from SofH. My mother, who is never impressed with rose, thought this was spectacular and actually wanted to Rock, Paper, Scissor for the last glass. Paper beats rock, mom! 90pts

2007 Sleight of Hand "Alive" Chardonnay
After my buddy Travis came back from Walla Walla saying the best wine he had tasted was a chardonnay, let's just say I was skeptical. After he told me it was made by Trey at SofH, I was certainly intrigued. Intrigued enough to buy three bottles. No need for an AMC gift card as New World-y buttered popcorn is not on the menu. Nice yellow hue followed by a nose of granite, green apple, crushed pear, and hints of spicy oak. I think the nose would hold its own again some PC's from Chablis. A subtle acidic punch from some lemon flavors gives way to a mouthful of more apples, pears, and baking spice and a full finish. I love the Old World feel this chardonnay possesses and with some more time, I think some more complexity will certainly develop. I can't wait. 90pts