John "Not Meathead" WolfIn a stirring show of patriotism, MoCool hotdog John Wolf (right) held his 3rd annual “Meatfest” on Pearl Harbor Day (or night, as the case may be), December 7th, 2002.  First reported in these pages 2 years ago, Meatfest is a vegetarian’s nightmare, and a carnivore’s delight.  The menu featured a variety of smoked and grilled goodies, including salmon, ribs, beef tenderloin, a 10 pound leg of lamb and haunch of venison, not to mention a delectable version of Michigan moose turd pie. (It was GOOD, though!) Mr. Wolf’s only directive to prospective guests was to “bring red wine.”  And that they did.  I was barely in the door before I had a glass in hand and a swig in my mouth.  I didn’t come close to trying everything that was opened, but here’s a rundown on what did make it into my glass.  I actually began with a bit of something white.

2000 Jacquesson Rully 1st Cru “La Purcelle:” A medium straw that’s all stones and pears on the nose, this gains some detergent on the palate, with decent acidity and a nice finish.  This will surely benefit from some cellar time.

1994 Kistler McCrea Chardonnay: The oak is well integrated in this medium straw masterpiece, with rich flavors and aromas of nutty stones over ripe pears, all kept moving along very nicely with excellent acidity.  A long finish tops off the marvelous package, making for one delicious glass of wine that’s anything but the usual cookie-cutter California Chardonnay.

1998 Carlisle Two Acres: A concoction of Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Valdepenas, Refosco and Alicante Bouschet, this ruby dark garnet is rumored to have been blended in Mike Officer’s kitchen sink.  With its sweet oak, subtle smoke, red berry and plum nose, it takes on a somewhat deeper, darker character on the palate, being medium full to full bodied and having some tannins still to shed.  Gary Kahle remarked that this certainly “shows its Russian River Valley terroir,” and Joel Goldberg opined that it is “a little light, typical of the vintage.”  Good stuff if you ask me…

1994 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf du Pape: Always a Gang favorite, this slightly cloudy dark garnet shows typical earthy smoke and leather over plum and prune, making for a classic Pegau profile.  We sucked our last one of these down a year or more ago, but it’s still in no danger of fading any time soon.  Yumm!

1997 Finca Catena Zapata Angelica Zapata Malbec: Another slightly cloudy dark garnet, this was a big hit with the crowd, and for $120 a bottle, it should have been!  With a big sweet oak, red berry and red currant nose, it turns a little earthy on the palate, but despite its generous opulence, it’s at least 5 years away from optimum drinking.  Very nice.      

'87 Ornellaia1987 Ornellaia: Poured from a 3 litre bottle, this murky dark garnet Super Tuscan is all about funk, earth, leather and sour and black cherries.  Smooth and dry, this is drinking well, though perhaps not quite living up to its exalted pedigree.

1998 Gaia Estate Angiorgitiko: This deep crimson libation is a product of Nemea, Greece, and features sweet oak and black fruit on a big full bodied frame; good tannins and acidity here, making for one nice glass of wine.  Alan Jarvis says it goes for 11 quid, whatever the hell that means…  

1989 Ridge Howell Mountain Zinfandel: A slightly rusty ruby dark garnet, this is rather funky, and not in an altogether pleasant way.  It has a stewed, almost cooked character that overpowers some decent berry flavors underneath, causing Joe Bonk (below left, with wife Andrea, John's friend Pat and the Wolfman himself) to put it aside “to open up;” he swears that another bottle of the same that was sampled a few months ago was showing beautifully, and I have no reason to doubt his word.  However, with the wealth of riches being opened and poured, I never did get back to this to see if indeed it ever came around.  

The Wines

2000 Jacquesson Rully 1st Cru “La Purcelle"

1994 Kistler McCrea Chardonnay

1998 Carlisle Two Acres

1994 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf du Pape

1997 Finca Catena Zapata Angelica Zapata Malbec

1987 Ornellaia

1998 Gaia Estate Angiorgitiko

1989 Ridge Howell Mountain Zinfandel

2000 Charles Melton 9 Popes

1999 Bramere Mendoza Malbec

1989 Summit Lake Howell Mountain Zinfandel

1999 Domaine Sarda-Malet Côte du Roussillon

1993 Ridge Geyserville

1990 Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine du Thalabert

1994 Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf du Pape

2000 Schrader Napa Cabernet Sauvignon “Original Tokalon Vineyard”

1995 Chateau de Lancyre Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup Grand Cuvee

1992 Ridge Lytton Springs

1988 Vieux Telegraphe Châteauneuf du Pape

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Joe, Andrea, Pat and John2000 Charles Melton 9 Popes: When we tasted a barrel sample of this Grenache – Syrah – Mourvedre blend at Hospice du Rhône a few years back, Allan Bree, AKA califusa, offered that it was of “intellectual interest only,” being rather disjointed at the time.  Time appears not to have been that kind to it, or maybe it was just overshadowed by the evening’s competition, but the slightly tarry plum and berry flavors and aromas are just OK, nothing special.  To be fair, it still is in obvious need of time, so perhaps I can be forgiving and reserve judgment for a later date, but I won’t exactly be waiting on pins and needles…

1999 Bramere Mendoza Malbec: Made by Paul Hobbs, this ruby dark garnet shows sweet toasty oak and woody cassis and black currant; rich, intense and fairly tannic, this particular bottle was also slightly corked, but not so that you couldn’t get a good read on it.  Some with a higher tolerance to TCA than Joel Goldberg and this taster found it to be perfectly acceptable, and who am I to blow against the wind?

1989 Summit Lake Howell Mountain Zinfandel: Not a very good night for Howell Mountain, as this was also rather funky, with its slightly sour, earthy raspberry and black cherry flavors and aromas.  The problem here, no doubt, is that the wine is at least a few years past its prime and not from a particularly notable vintage.

Joe and Kurt1999 Domaine Sarda-Malet Côte du Roussillon: This wine is deep, dark and mysterious, showing dense black currant and black berry flavors with earthy, twiggy undertones, owing to “a lot of Mourvedre,” according to Joe Moorehouse (right, wearing blue plaid, along side Kurt Laukner).  It’s a very nice wine, but in obvious need of some cellaring; I’d like to try it again, some years down the road.

1993 Ridge Geyserville: This is still showing most of that pretty fruit that it’s offered since day 1; the “Draper perfume” is in somewhat more subdued proportions than it once was, but it’s still drinking quite well, with its raspberry and cinnamon character.  Not quite the equal of the bottle tasted last May at califusa’s Ridgestock “Meeting of the Geezers” event, but still quite tasty.

1990 Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine du Thalabert: There’s still not much rust to this dark garnet, just plenty of everything that we love about Thalabert, with its big plum and blackberry essence shaded with earth and leather.  This is almost fruit forward for an old Crozes, and I could have sat and gotten to know it much better, but alas, there were other things to move on to.

1994 Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf du Pape: Here is proof once again that this producer is making what has to be one of the most consistently delicious and at the same time value oriented Châteauneufs on the market.  This particular model is almost floral in nature, with its earthy, leathery prune and plum flavors and aromas.  There are still some tannins to shed, so there’s no rush to drink this up if you have any; a fine example of the Bois de Boursan experience.

  2000 Schrader Napa Cabernet Sauvignon “Original Tokalon Vineyard”: The vineyard designation of this ruby dark garnet is the cause not only for some controversy, but a lawsuit as well, as Robert Mondavi has taken exception to its inclusion on the label.  Whatever the case, it has a nice earthy cassis and blackberry bouquet that follows through on the palate, with no overt oak to speak of and tannins that are in need of some years to mellow.  Still, it’s fairly approachable now, and while not a heavyweight, it is a good, solid glass of Cabernet.

1995 Chateau de Lancyre Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup Grand Cuvee: The big brother (sister?) of a wine we got to know and love last year, this deep dark garnet is showing big dark earthy plum and black currant flavors and aromas.  Despite the fact that it’s still rather tannic, Gary Kahle (from whose cellar it came) feels that it’s at its peak, but I have to wonder if in fact it might not benefit from a few more years in the bottle.  Good stuff!

1992 Ridge Lytton Springs: Still showing no bricking as of yet, this lovely features big overripe blackberry, black raspberry and plum flavors and aromas prettied up with “all that Draper perfume,” and an earthy quality to boot.  Almost sun baked, it reminds me of one of Ridge’s Paso Robles models.  A real treat, as we drank up what we had of these years ago. 

1988 Vieux Telegraphe Châteauneuf du Pape: The last entry in my little Spider-man notebook reads “A lovely CdP, but my note taking is kaput!  All I can say is yumm!!!”

It was a great evening of food and wine, with a group of fine folks that we’ve gotten to know and gain great affection for through our MoCool adventures.  Alan Kerr, AKA Canadian Zinfan, who has manned the grills during past Meatfests, was missed, due to a mean schedule that prevented his attendance.  Nevertheless, glasses were raised in a toast to him, and it is hoped that he can once again join us during next year’s renewal of festivities.

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December 2002

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