It was a sunny but cool yesterday and the college football scores were all correct from my point of view. To celebrate a friend fired up his grill and pulled out his corkscrew for a late afternoon dinner.
There was a method to his madness as the 2005 Chateau Gloria from St. Julien is on sale at one of the local outlets and he was trying to determine whether to buy a few extra bottles to put away. We volunteered to help with the experiment.
We snacked for awhile on some duck pate with orange peel and pistachios and a Sweet Grass Dairy ripened cow's milk cheese from Georgia. There was also some crusty bread and Olio Nuovo discussed below. We decanted Gloria for a little more than hour, pouring an small initial amount into the glasses just to sniff and taste. Fruity in the nose with hints of some wood. The taste was still closed so we left the wine alone.
Dinner was a small saddle of lamb and baked sweet potatoes so there wasn't much work to do.
When the meal was ready we poured the wine. Definitely medium weight cherries and some clean earth in the nose. The wine tasted of dark cherries, some red currants and earth. The acid was great and the tannins were moderate and soft. There was a very good mouth feel to this wine. It was smooth and balanced. It wasn't an overly big wine, but Gloria never is. The wine has a couple of years before it hits its peak. I liked the earthy finish on this wine.
As the meal was ending the cork came out of the 1999 St. Clement Oroppas from the Saint Helena area of Napa Valley. This was a bigger wine with fuller fruit and a different flavor profile. Here there were dark currants, blackberries and plums. Though it was a bigger wine than the Gloria it wasn't over the top. There was good balance, good acid and tannins. A very good wine but it was more one dimensional than the Gloria. That dimension was fruit, and I preferred the Gloria because it mixed some earth in with the fruit.
I wouldn't turn down a bottle of either.