Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Wines

It pays to have good friends at Christmas as witnessed by the two wines that went down very easily with a second prime rib of beef dinner of the holidays.  There were a few preliminaries but the highlight of the day was definitely the 2003 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars SLV Cabernet Sauvignon and the 1996 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, both from Napa Valley.  The Mondavi was a medium color and was turning to brick on the edges as it has begun to show its age.  Still full of fruit and spices, but the fruit had mellowed into a nice melange of cherry, cassis, cinnamon, vanilla and graphite.  Good acidity and enough tannin to carry everything the wine was offering.

The Stag's Leap wine was much younger and a much darker color.  The nose was less evolved but still full of dark cherries, a few blueberries, a tiny bit of vegetable that I found appealing and clean whiff of dry earth.  Full flavored with the cherries dominating.  There was a richer mouth feel to this wine, and the richer feeling stood up a little better to the beef than the Mondavi.  Good acid and a nice level of tannin at the finish made this wine a winner.

Very difficult to choose a favorite here as both wines offered their best efforts and were quite enjoyable.  I loved them both.

Prices unknown but the Mondavi was 13.3% alcohol and the Stag's Leap was 14%.

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