Monday, March 30, 2009

1997 Staglin Cabernet and Lamb

Sunday night dinner was wonderful, but the wine, while very good, was a little disappointing.

Pictured above is a small rack of grass fed Icelandic lamb. There is a local, free range and organic chicken producer who is friends with the folks in Iceland who produce the lamb, and he is the middleman for the local market carrying this. It is quite lean but very tasty. It was simply rubbed with a cut garlic clove then lightly dusted with herbs de Provence, pan seared and finished in the oven until medium rare. There were store bought, frozen, large ravioli from the New York Ravioli company. This version was filled with wild mushroom and truffles. They were boiled and finished with olive oil and grated cheese and parsley.

The wine was a 1997 Staglin from the Rutherford area of Napa Valley. Staglin is an excellent producer which owns and uses part of the vineyard formerly used to produce the Beaulieu Georges de Latour reserve wine a few decades ago - wines that I dearly loved. 1997 was considered by some to be the "vintage of the decade" in Napa. That's actually a silly term that really means you had to do something truly wrong to make a bad wine that year in Napa.

I have had two bottles squirreled away for some time and decided last night was the time to pull the cork. The wine was very dark in the glass. The nose was all about black currants and dark cherries with a touch of cinnamon thrown in for good measure. There was also noticeable oak in the nose. The first sip was full bodied and full of those same dark fruits. The tannins were gripping and big, and the acid was correct. There was a lengthy finish that ended with more of the tannin. It was a very good wine, but over the course of the evening the fruit seemed to fade and the tannins seemed to grow. This was good wine for certain, but not an exceptional wine. It was good with the lamb, but I was hoping for something more and that made it a little disappointing.

I drank of bottle of the 1996 Staglin last year and that wine from a supposedly lesser vintage was in better shape than this one from the supposedly superior vintage though they had been kept in the same conditions. That's just one more thing that makes wine interesting.

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