Thursday, March 26, 2015


The second half of the dinner from the post below this one was a beef tenderloin in a crushed, black pepper crust.  It was a very good piece of meet, and the peppercorns had some of their bite removed by sauteing them in olive oil prior to becoming the coating for the tenderloin.

The wine for this course was a 2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia from Napa Valley.  This particular Insignia vintage has some history behind it - it was the Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 2005 and it is a wine that Robert Parker scored 100 points.  That's a lot of hype for any wine, and the type of hype that would normally send me running in the opposite direction.

I pay attention to Mr. Parker and to James Laube, the California Cabernet Guru of the Spectator, for unusual reasons.  Their palates and mine do not agree so they serve as a great guide on wines to avoid.   That said - I liked this wine, but I didn't love it.

Things began with inky dark colors and a full on fruital assault on the nose.  Immensely fruity wine with black cherry and blackberry jam flavors.  The tannins had settled in and provided a structure without insisting on playing a leading role.  Even with the richness of the fruit there was still ample acid to support everything.  The finish was quite lengthy and finished with a fruity but dry note.  This wine was full of itself without being overpowering.  And yet, something was lacking and I'm still not sure what it was.  Perhaps the best way to describe this wine was to say that it wonderfully correct and beautiful but lacked any personality to make it stand out. 

2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia.  Napa Valley red wine. 14.5% alcohol and $270.

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