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2010 July 4th Wine Barbecue at the Pangs: (Almost) All American Wine Lineup

July 4, 2010

2010 JULY 4TH WINE BARBECUE AT THE PANGS: (ALMOST) ALL AMERICAN WINE LINEUP – Chez Pang, Sunnyvale, California (7/4/2010)


Traci, Richard, Tony and Paul

This was a true feast for the 4th. Christianne’s parents hosted, and Christianne and Traci made lots of tasty treats. The irresistible food included mushroom pate, cheddar crab dip, dry-rubbed baby-back ribs, grilled prawns, herbed “beer can” chicken, walnut pasta, and caprese salad. Then there were the sweets, including mango cake, cherry clafoutis, cheese cake, and more. I’m stuffed. The wines didn’t suck either. Christianne urged us to bring American wines. We started with some lovely dry whites and a rosé, then sat down for a flight of very tasty Mount Eden Chardonnays. Since the Chardonnay queen, Traci, was with us, we segued into more Chards, which went well with the appetizers and the prawns. Then some serious reds for the ribs, a little Pinot, and a salute to the signers of the Declaration of Independence with a vintage Madeira.

Virtually all of our wines showed well. My wines of the day were the ’94 Mount Eden Chard, the ’01 Paloma Merlot (still holding up well after being Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year in 2003), the ’97 Dehlinger Cabernet and our Madeira finish.

Foreign Flight

Al and Sandy

Christianne poured the Müller-Thurgau blind. I was guessing Austrian Riesling, but it was a dry Müller-Thurgau instead. The Félines Jourdan Picpoul was excellent, the best Picpoul-de-Pinet I’ve had. The Provence Rosé was also very good. Okay, enough with the foreign wines (which are what we usually drink).

Mount Eden Chard Vertical

Sandy brought this vertical of 13 to 16-year-old Chardonnays from Mount Eden. These were worth sitting down for and focusing on, which is just what we did. The ’95 was pretty oxidized, although not terrible. The ’96 and ’97 were both good in different styles, but my favorite was our oldest, the ’94.

More Cali Chards

We were all delighted by this bevy of very good Cali Chards. The Aubert, Rhys and Lynmar showed particularly well. The Freeman and Varner were a little oaky for my taste, but still well made. Ian Brand’s Coastview also did well in this stellar lineup.

  • 2008 Coastview Vineyard Chardonnay Terraces – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
    Slightly cloudy, light golden yellow color; lemon curd, floral, white flower, vanilla nose; tasty, lemon curd, vanilla, white flower palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Light golden yellow color; floral, orange blossom, sweet butter nose; tasty, solid, sweet butter, floral palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)
  • 2001 Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Light medium yellow color; oak, earthy, hazelnut nose; tasty, creamy textured, butter, tart citrus palate; medium-plus finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Light yellow color; floral, lemon cream, lemon curd nose; tasty, rich, but poised, tart citrus, lemon, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Freeman Chardonnay Ryo-fu – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Light lemon yellow color; nice lemon, lemon curd, vanilla nose; ripe lemon, oak, vanilla palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Lynmar Chardonnay La Sereinite – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Light green-tinged yellow color; poised, lemon, mineral nose; tasty, poised, ripe lemon, mineral palate; medium finish (92 pts.)

Cali Gewürz

I’d been looking forward to trying the Breggo Gewürz, but this was disappointing. My favorite domestic Gewürz is the Navarro, but the Stony Hill is quite good too.

  • 2006 Breggo Cellars Gewürztraminer – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
    Light gold color with greenish tinge; rose petal, floral nose; tangy, odd, oak palate with little varietal character; medium finish (79 pts.)
  • 2006 Stony Hill Gewürztraminer – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Light yellow color; mineral, rose petal, geranium nose; geranium, mineral, dry palate; medium finish (89 pts.)

Red Flight

This was a diverse but tasty flight. I hadn’t tried the ’01 Paloma Merlot for years (after trying it several times shortly after it was named Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator in 2003). It was still remarkably youthful and seamless, despite being nearly 10 years old. Easily one of the best California Merlots ever. The ’96 Togni reminded me of a mature Dominus. I was surprised how much tobacco and herbaceousness it was showing. The ’97 Dehlinger was quite tasty.

  • 2001 Paloma Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    Opaque black red violet color; ripe black plum, vanilla, oak, berry nose; tasty, berry, black plum, blackberry palate with depth; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Audelssa Estate Winery Zephyr – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
    Opaque red violet color; black plum, berry, spice, baked berry nose; plush, tasty berry, roasted berry, baked berry, black fruit, allspice palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 1996 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    Dark red violet color; herbaceous, tobacco, cigar box nose; Bordeaux-like, tobacco, herbaceous palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 1997 Dehlinger Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Opaque red violet color; cassis, berry, plum nose; plush, cassis, plum, berry palate; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)

Pinot Flight

  • 2008 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Medium cherry red color with clear meniscus; big, ripe cherry, baked cherry, baking spice nose; big, baked cherry, black cherry, baking spice palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2003 Littorai Pinot Noir Mays Canyon – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Medium dark red violet color; rich, cherry, black cherry nose; tasty, ripe cherry, berry syrup palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)

Vintage Madeira

I mentioned in my July 3 post that vintage Madeira was the favorite wine of our colonial forefathers, and was used to toast the Declaration of Independence 234 years ago today. Today I started what I hope to be an annual tradition, toasting American independence with the original American toast–vintage Madeira. This 76-year-old Boal was showing quite well, with plenty of complexity and good acidity. I’m having another little taste as I finish this post.

  • 1934 Abudarham Madeira Boal – Portugal, Madeira
    Medium orange color with ruby lights and light yellow green meniscus; mature, cane sugar, caramelized sugar, creme brulée nose; complex, tart lemon, baked orange, dried apricot, creme brulée, coffee palate with depth; long finish 93+ pts. (93 pts.)
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