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April 12th Dinner with Paul and Stefania in Chicago

Paul and Stef came into town and about 19 board members from Chicago and neighboring states (Indybob from Indiana and Redhawk from Michigan) came into town for dinner. We had a little trouble finding a place to accommodate us all on a Friday night but Wine Sparty final found us a room at Caro Mio. Thanks for making the arrangements. The food was mediocre in my opinion but I don't think anyone minded since the wine and company was outstanding. Not going to bother naming everyone who was there.

My notes on the wines are below. I know I missed a few. A Stefania Santa Crus Cab and a Sauternes come to mind.

2006 René Geoffroy Champagne Volupté Brut Premier Cru - France, Champagne, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne (4/12/2013)
Opened by Indybob. The 2nd Geoffroy champagne I've had. The other being the Rosé de Saignée which was of similar quality. Served slightly too warm but it still showed very well. Moderate bead. Notes of peanuts and brioche. 91 points.

2011 Curran Grenache Blanc - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (4/12/2013)
Opened by LostVerse. My favorite white of the night. Notes of vanilla, spices and pears. Full bodied. 90-91 points.

2010 Grosset Riesling Polish Hill - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Polish Hill (4/12/2013)
Opened by Otis. The last polish Hill I had was the 2004 which I thought had better acidity and purity. This wine was steely and very dry. Some petrol, floral and linseed oil notes. 88 points.

2005 Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora Venezia Giulia IGT - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT (4/12/2013)
Opened by Otis. Yellow color. Made in an oxidized style and it showed. Muted flavors with some honeysuckle and peach. Not my style. 84 points.

1999 Château Pontet-Canet - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (4/15/2013)
Opened by Grossie. From Magnum. Left bank profile. Lead pencil and cassis. Medium bodied. To compare this to other late 90's vintages, I liked this better than the 1997 but not as much as either the 1995 or 1996. No rush to open this. 89-90 points.

2004 Neal Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Second Chance Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Atlas Peak (4/13/2013)
Opened by Berno. The 2nd Second Chance I have had. The other was the 2002 which was comparable in quality. This had more structure and tannins than the 2003 Neal Napa Cab which was opened alongside this. Dark fruit notes. 91-92 points.

2011 Stefania Syrah Coastview - USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey County (4/13/2013)
Paul and Stef brought this with them. Deep maroon color. Notes of brambly black fruit, carmel and black pepper. Moderately thick texture. Obviously young and will round out with a little time. 90+ points

2000 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (4/12/2013)
Opened by Indybob. Black red color. An aromatic wine. On the palate I detected an interesting chalkiness. Notes of tar, mocha and blackberry. This wine was right up there for wine of the night. As good as it was though, it fell just short of matching the 1997 which I had 10 years ago. 94 points.

1998 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (4/12/2013)
Opened by Otis. I've had 5 other Scavino Barolo but the only other Bric del Fiasc was the 2001 which was young at the time and not as good as this bottle. Old world style and elegant (especially in comparison to the other wines at this dinner). Notes of berries, plum and an earthiness. 93 points.

2010 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Crimson Clover - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Clara Valley (4/12/2013)
Paul and Stef brought this with them. The best of the 4-5 Stefania wines at this dinner. Another winning vintage for the Crimson Clover bottling. Creamy texture. Young, firm tannins and full bodied. A luscious wine with notes of dark chocolate and plum. Asked Paul if this was his most satisfying wine to make every year because of the great reception it gets and he said no because the vineyard produced such wonderful fruit that the wine was "easy" to make in comparison to some of the more challenging site he uses. 93-94 points.

2006 Brancaia Il Blu Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT (4/12/2013)
Opened by Wine Sparty. Did not take any formal notes on this wine but thought it was very good. 92 points.

2000 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/12/2013)
4th time I have had this and each time from magnum. I still have 1 mag left. An integrated and smooth wine which has evolved nicely. Still drinking well. Meaty notes with red berries and lavender. 91 points.

2005 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT (4/12/2013)
Opened by Redhawk. Bing cherry, iodine and tart fruit notes. Medium bodied. I liked this about as much as the 2001 which I previously had. 90-91 points.

2010 Stefania Nueva Casa de los Padres - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (4/12/2013)
Paul and Stef brought this with them. 1st vintage for this wine. Aromatic. Dark fruit bursts out of the glass together with creme de cassis. Sweet and fruity at the present time.. Young and very fresh and lively. 91 points.

2005 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley (4/12/2013)
Opened by Blue Oval. From Magnum. Dark inky purple color. Thick texture. Notes of roasted coffee, oak and black currants. Other liked this better than I did. To me it felt a little heavy but not really out of balance. More of a stylistic preference I think. 90-91 points.

2003 Bergström Pinot Noir Arcus - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (4/12/2013)
Opened by Jcubed. From Magnum. Notes of iron, prunes and underbrush. Doesn't sound like the most appetizing combination but this wine was rather interesting. I tried this early and think the wine may have benefited from some air time. With so many wines I was not able to get back to it. 88-89 points.

2003 Neal Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (4/12/2013)
Opened by LostVerse. From magnum. 6th time I have had this wine. Still drinking well with good structure. Vibrant red fruit notes. Drank the 2004 2nd Chance next to this and liked it better. 89-90 points.

1997 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT (4/12/2013)
Opened by Winesparty. One of the standout wines of the night. 4th time I have had the 1997. Solid tannins. Notes of raw meat, violets and some woodiness. Integrated tannins. Drinking just about as well as it ever has. 94-95 points.

1990 Kathryn Kennedy Lateral - USA, California (4/12/2013)
Opened by Otis. This far outshined the 1988 which was opened next to it. An elegant wine at this stage with integrated tannins. Soft, supple texture. Notes of leather and plums. I would drink soon if you have any. 92 points.

1997 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (4/12/2013)
Opened by Otis. 5th time I have had this wine. Notes of black cherries, burnt ends and leather. Solid tannins for being 16 years old. Aging gracefully. 92-93 points.

2006 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (4/12/2013)
Opened by Otis. First time I have had the 2006. Fruitier than the 1997 which was opened next to it. Black fruit notes with charcoal and tar. Firm tannins. 92 points.

1988 Kathryn Kennedy Lateral - USA, California (4/12/2013)
Opened by Otis. First red I tried that night. Green pepper. Moldy. Not holding up well. 83 points.

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