In part 2, there are several Cabernets to cover.
Mendoza, Argentina not only represented in the Malbec department this Thanksgiving, but we also enjoyed a great Trapiche 2011 Oak Cask Cabernet. The grapes come right from the foothills of the Andes, and the ample sunshine and coolness from the altitude combine to make a powerful, ripe Cab. Its full, velvety smooth and classy, brimming with black fruit and cedar notes and a nice long finish. The tannins were just moderate and didn’t take away from the texture. At 14% ABV, you can definitely taste the full force of the sun ripened grapes.
There were three Cabs from California, a 2010 Fuse and 2011 Honig from Napa Valley and a 2011 Decoy from Sonoma County. The FUSE probably derives its name either from being a fusion of 3 varietals, or that its bursting with flavors as a result. With 15% Syrah you have the addition of nice spice and extra depth, with 3% Merlot to soften and round the wine out. It was bold but balanced. Really nice. The Decoy is made by Duckhorn and is an elegant, easy-drinking example with moderate tannins balanced with a nice acidity and ripe black fruit.
On the table to start were two wines in decanters. The Honig is a classic Rutherford Cab, elegant and powerful at once with obvious but not overpowering oak, letting the deep black fruit do all the talking. On the other end was 2006 Domaine Jean Royer Prestige Cuvée Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The cork gave me a little trouble having dried out, but some filtering saved the day, and I quickly poured a nice portion for every one who wanted a taste after it decanted a bit. This wine was a real crowd-pleaser and opened up beautifully in little time. Complex and spicy, yet still with plenty of fruit.
After most of the guests had gone, and the task of clean-up had been mostly complete, I sat down to enjoy a delicious 2011 Vidal Ice wine from Pillitteri estate. This is a Niagara, Canada producer and as you may know they are quite renowned for ice wine in the region. I had had this before and made sure there was a bottle for this occasion. Golden in color, it burst with apricot, peach and honey on the nose and palate with plenty of sweetness to savor.
Lastly we had one left over that I had wanted to try from Anthony Nappa, and so last night we enjoyed their “Leonardo” 2013 Riesling Ice wine. Tangerine in color, this Long Island, New York winemaker sourced these grapes from their Sheldrake Point vineyards on Cayuga lake in the northern Finger Lakes region of the state. Frozen on the vines, they were harvested in January in 14 degrees Farenheit at 37 brix. They were then fermented in French oak for 9 months before being bottled unfiltered. Rich, lush notes of blood orange, papaya and mango jump at your nose, and on the palate its a juicy sweet confection of those same tropical fruits with a long delicious finish.
Without a doubt, there was plenty of great wines to be had this Thanksgiving and I look forward to bringing a few of these to the table for Christmas.