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The Emmy Award-winning R2D2 and his wife joined another couple at my house for dinner Saturday. The theme was Hedonistic Reds. We all chose bottles from our cellar that fell into the category of “hedonistic”, with that definition being left up to each individual.

The wines were wrapped in aluminum foil and tasted double blind with dinner, which consisted of:

Shrimp Gyoza
Blackberry Cabernet Braised Prime Short Ribs
Warm Grilled Corn and Potato Salad
Champagne-Glazed Baby Carrots

We wound up tasting six excellent wines. We then ranked the wines and tallied up the votes for “most hedonistic and purely enjoyable”. The results were:

6) 2001 Los Rocas Vina Viejas Garnacha
5) 1990 Dunn Howell Mountain Cab Sauvignon
4) 1997 Ojai Thompson Vyd. “Henry Daniel” Syrah
3) 1998 Elderton Command Shiraz
2) 2000 Bodegas Sierra Salinas “Mira”
1) 2002 Martinelli Jackass Vyd. Zinfandel

All of these wines were outstanding. My lowest rating for any of them was 91P. I’ll post TNs under separate threads for each of them.

What a great treat it was for R2D2 to share the Dunn Howell Mtn. (the wine he picked out to celebrate his big award). It was a real privilege, and a terrific wine, especially the nose. I can’t get over how approachable it was.

The Martinelli Jackass was a knockout wine, and “hedonistic” is much too mild of a descriptor. Parker is absolutely correct in calling this wine the “quintessential kickass California zinfandel” in his 96P-rating. Unbelievable. My WOTY, so far.


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Otis, thanks for having us over. I couldn't have picked a better time and place to celebrate the award. You are becoming quite the excellent chef, keep up the great work and I'll keep eating.

As for the wines, I too loved the nose on the Dunn. I love the aromas of aged CA Cabs, but it was a bit tame on the palate. I expected more out of a wine that "godzilla" would drink. Nevertheless, I gave it a 93 (95+ nose, 90/91 otherwise). I tossed in the Los Rocas to see what you and David thought of it double blind. IT's well worth the $9 that Dicarlos is selling it for. TWC is selling it for 10.35 (that ain't bad either).

The Jackass was outstanding, as was the surprising Mira. I will have to hunt down some of those.

Thanks again!

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