Friday, May 24, 2013

Barnett Vineyards Bliss

It would be impossible to find a day in this area where the weather could be more perfect.  The sun shone all day, the humidity was low, there were few, if any, clouds and the temperatures never moved past 63 degrees.  I spent the day pulling weeds, planting flowers and mulching some open areas --- and building a big appetite.

Just before the lamb chops hit the grill I pulled the cork on a bottle of 1996 Barnett vineyards, Spring Mountain District, Cabernet Sauvignon from California's Napa Valley.  This was the last bottle of this wine in the cellar and today seemed the perfect day for an older wine.

The color was still great with just the least bit of orange at the edges.  The wine was closed up at first but the nose soon opened up to be a veritable walk through a flower garden.  Blossoms and fruit and a touch of cinnamon literally filled the room.  The first sip was a little reticent but it soon opened up to a wonderful mixture of dark fruits, firm but inviting tannin, solid structure and just enough acid to keep everything in balance.  Balance is the key word here. The parts were all wonderful, but when they came together they were greater than any single part.  When Napa Valley restrains itself a little the wines can be magnificent, and this wine was as good an example as one will find.  Just about perfect.

The lamb was browned on both sides over hot coals then taken off the grill and painted with a mixture of Dijon mustard, olive oil and garlic.  A mix of fresh thyme and rosemary was scattered over both sides of the chops and then they were set vertically on the grill over indirect heat until medium rare.  Some roasted carrots, a small salad, some crusty rolls and a glass of the wine and we were convinced that every deity that is worshiped in the world came together to bless this meal.  I wish there was another case of this wine in the cellar.

1996 Barnett Vineyards, Spring Mountain District, Cabernet Sauvignon.  13.8% alcohol and $65 about twelve years ago.

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