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Last weekend’s birthday dinner featured two chardonnays served with salmon pillows in a dill cream sauce followed by a mini-vertical of Clos du Bois Marlstone served with Cuban pork in mojo sauce and green beans. I didn’t take notes, preferring to enjoy the company instead, so what follows is sketchy.

1997 Stonestreet chardonnay – This was my last bottle of the 97 Stonestreet, a wine which I have really enjoyed for a couple of years. It pairs perfectly with the salmon and cream sauce. Creamy, not overly oaked, with pear, citrus and spice on the finish.

1997 Ferrari Carano Tre Terre chardonnay – Only had this one bottle, and now wish I had more. Better than the Stonestreet. Beautiful golden color, spicy, focused with pear and melon.

1994 Clos du Bois Marlstone – This has been drinking beautifully for a couple years and this bottle was, sadly, the last in my cellar. Dark ruby, elegant and balanced with plum, cherry and currant. The favorite of most of the guests. Still drinking well but hasn’t gotten better over the last two years.

1995 Marlstone – The underdog for “best of vertical”. This was more restrained, but after an hour opened beautifully. Notes of dried cherry, anise and cedar. This may improve for a few more years and will reward decanting. This one stood out for me because it was a different style than the typical Marlstone of the last few years.

1996 Marlstone – The least favorite of the night. Not a bad wine, I’d give it 89 or 90 points on the WS scale, but it lacked the complexity of the 94 and the 95. Mostly fruit driven.

1997 Marlstone – Beautiful aromas with plenty of cherry and plum. A little bit too “round” for my taste, but some liked it almost as well as the 94. To me it seemed to lack the structure of the 94 and 95. I had great hopes for this one so I’ll try it again in another couple of weeks and let you know if it shows better on it’s own.
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