It was nothing fancy, just a comfort food dinner of mushroom soup, tenderloin of pork with dumplings and sweet sauerkraut, and orange sppnge cake for dessert. This was more about the wines. No formal notes taken, so I'll see what I can do from memory.
2001 Walter Hansel Chardonnay, Cuvee Alyce -- Perhaps the best bottle I have ever had of this (out of maybe 15 bottles). Beautifully seamless and creamy, with lemon chiffon, nutmeg, bright ripe fruits, and a finish that carries for a minute or more.
2002 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay, Russian River Valley -- A great counterpoint to the Cuvee Alyce. This one is all about the sleek layers of fresh fruit with a note of wood spice. It goes down 'way too easily. This Chardonnay is all brightness and light. I can't wait to try the other 2002 Chardonnays from Paul Hobbs, now just released!
2002 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir, Hyde Vineyard
Quite different from the weighty, strawberry-puree laden Patz & Hall bottling from Hyde in 2002, this one is more silky and feminine, showing dark berry-cherry fruits and notes of citrus rind. Elegant and refined.
2001 Ojai Vineyard Syrah, Bien Nacido
This was my first chance to try the Ojai Syrahs, and it did not disappoint. Opaque, glass-staining black-purple color. Effusive nose of extracted blackberry fruit, with exotic wood spice accents. Nice shadings of black pepper and licorice. Some chalky/earthy tannins at the finish. I would lay this one down for three to five years.
2000 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon, Hillside Select
This was my first Hillside Select since the 1984 bottling I had in 1989. Wow! Is this a nice glass o' Cab!
Upon first cork pull, the room is filled with the hedonistic smell of pure, ripe, extracted cassis. Very dark, opaque color. I could have sat and taken in the aroma all night. In the mouth, lush and velvety. The finish goes on for up to the minute. All black fruits and woodspice. Nicely knit together. I would enjoy this now and over the next five years.
2001 David Arthur Cabernet Sauvignon, Elevation 1147
Again, my first time to try this wine (I have had the regular 2001).
This wine is better than the regular bottling by a couple of points. More tightly knit than the Shafer Hillside, it unfolded to show dense dark fruits, multiple spice and herb components, and a sense of power not found in the Shafer. This is an ageworthy Cab. Drink 2008 through 2020.
2001 Dr. F. Weins-Prum Auslese, Gold Cap
While a great dessert wine that stands on its own, this didn't match particularly well with the orange sponge cake dessert. The brisk acidity of this sweetie needs an apple torte or some-such. Still, very enjoyable on its own
There were a few lesser wines in the mix (as well as two other couples to drink them!).
All in all, a very nice srtart to the weekend!