2002 Provenance Merlot

Sin! Debauchery! Dust! Wine!

Now that I have your attention, I just wanted to share a little about the amazing weekend I spent with The Wineaux Guy™ and talk about some of the fabulous wines we had.  A couple of the wines fell a little short of expectations, but those that were fabulous, were really fabulous! The “falling short” wines just won’t make it into this week’s article. And, yes, there was a certain amount of sin and debauchery, but those, too, won’t be included in this article.

While we enjoyed several wines over the four days that he hung out with me here in Vegas, there were a few that were standouts.

As an aside, I’m so happy that he’s patient with me whenever there’s a great wine to drink.  I almost always grab a camera and take notes.  Fortunately, he’s also a stickler for accuracy when describing wines, so it’s a win-win for me!

The Wineaux Guy

Speaking with Gidget about wine, of course!

The first wine we had was the Hug Cellars 2010 Brosseau Vineyard Chalone Appellation Pinot Noir.  While the first bottle(s)we had together via the phone were quite delicious, this was something else altogether.  When I opened the bottle, the aroma of fresh dark cherries almost literally exploded out of the bottle. The fragrance continued in the glass, and along with the smoke, nutmeg, and leather, predominated on the flavor.  We drank the entire bottle greedily, always talking about the cherries.

Another wine we enjoyed was a 2002 Provenance Vineyards Carneros Merlot.  This was an inexpensive Merlot that I had purchased from Khoury’s several years ago, which cost about $19.95 according to my records, and had received so-so reviews.  I decided to open it because it was ten years past vintage and we could both assess it while watching tv and munching on deli snacks (from Parma Restaurant in Vegas!)  It was surprisingly good.  Okay, staggeringly good.  The ten years did this wine well.  I decanted it because I figured there would be a lot of sediment, and the fragrance in the bottle indicated some pretty hefty tannins. The color was amazing – a clear, bright red instead of the garnet I was expecting.  The aromas of coffee, cocoa, plum, and spice were there, and on the palate, the tannins were nicely softened.  It is now a good food wine, although I’d drink it up within the next few months if I still had one in the cellar.  No, the fruit was not muted, but it’s so good, why not drink it now!  Of all of the wines we had over the weekend, this one – by far – was the most surprising.

Provenance Merlot

Provenance – check out the color!

We spent some time at the Farmers Market at Tivoli Village, and got to visit the View Wine Bar, but unfortunately, we got there too soon and it was not due to open during the time that we were there.  I’m surprised that it opens at 11:00 when there are so many people there early on Saturday, but what can I say?  I’m hoping that if they read this, they would consider opening at 10:00 am on Saturdays.  We were planning to try glass of wine and dig the ambiance, but were disappointed.  Maybe next time!

We picked up some fresh fruits and veggies (Kale!), and just moseyed around, checking out the different booths and enjoying the people and the music.

Belle Glos

The next wine we enjoyed with friends at one our favorite restaurants, Marché Bacchus. We met them there for lunch.  We always taste blind, and Gidget – of Tex & Gidget – has an amazing palate that would put any sommelier to shame. At any rate, we tasted several wines blind, and the wine that was my contribution was a 2011 Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Everybody *knew* that my contribution would be a Pinot, so that was a given (I’m the “Pinot Ho,” etc.) However, something interesting happened. A very unusual Pinot Noir, its meaty and peppery characteristics actually threw a couple of people off.  Even Gidget thought it may have been some sort of Syrah blend.  After a bit of time in the glass, however, the cherry, spice, and cranberry notes began to reveal itself as a Pinot. This Pinot is a infant, and the amazingly bright color speaks to its youth.  Quite delicious, it will be much better once given time to rest and mature.  It’s hard to be patient with this yummy of a wine, but I’m sure that putting it aside for a while will only increase your pleasure while drinking it.

Late Saturday evening I opened up a bottle of 2004 Whitehall Lane Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. I had purchased this more or less by accident.  It was THE LAST bottle that Trader Joe’s had, and Tony saved it for me.  Although it was expensive and its provenance questionable, I still didn’t hesitate.  I bought it in the spring and suggested that we try it.

Whitehall LaneEight years after vintage, is there ever any reason to doubt a Napa Cab? Especially from Rutherford?

“Ah,” said TWG™ as he inhaled the fragrance from his glass, “the dust.”

There’s just something special about the Cabs that come from Rutherford and environs.  “The Dust” is an interesting part of the traits of the Rutherford Cabernets.  I love the dusty Rutherford Cabs, and this was no exception.  There was some cherry, but after all these years, the spice, leather, dust, currant, and oak prevailed.  It was just starting to turn to garnet, and the tannins were softer.  A delicious wine, it would have been perfect with a seared Ribeye with herb butter, but we enjoyed the Parma deli leftovers instead.  As I write this, it’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it – “dust” just doesn’t seem to be a good wine descriptor. But as soon as you have a Rutherford Cab, you get it.

The long weekend was over far too soon.  We’ve since lamented the implosion of our planned Hawaii and/or Puerto Rico vacation plans for 2012  (Me – my Mom’s health issues; TWG – two vehicle transmissions and a major home repair. ouch). But although Father Time is being less than kind to us as we enjoy our senior citizenhood, we march on, hoping for that special vacation week.  Although – no matter what he says – I will have the laptop, camera, and notebook ready. I can’t help it!

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