Well...since nobody else has posted, I guess I'll take the reigns.
First of all....BIG THANK YOU to Mark Neal for throwing such a fabulous event. If only every Napa Valley winery/owner could be this generous! It was a stunning evening. All the way from the hospitality of the hosts (Mark, his wife, Gove, etc.) to the quantity and quality of wines poured, and food served. All around a Frist Class event!!! I can only hope they do this again next year, and I am fortunate enough to have another seat at the table.
Steve and Lisa....You guys are great! As always it was VERY nice to see you two again. Always a pleasure to be around. Hope to see you again soon.
Mr. Pyang......What can I say....I couldn't have had a better seat at the table, and it was great to hang out. I needed it. Salud my friend!
Mr. and Mrs. Enjoyingwine!.....Thank you for the ride, and the great company! I'm still trying to figure out where Mrs. Enjoyingwine got all of that energy from on the car ride home!
Chico....Nice to see you again too! You crack me up! Wish you could have been at our table?
Emilio and SBC (or something to that effect...I forgot your handle? ) It was a pleasure meeting you both. Always good to see and meet some traveling out of town forumites. Hope you guys enjoy your stay!
So here goes some brief notes:
'01 Neal Howell Mtn. Cab
Wow! Both of the '01 Neal Single Vineyard Designates are fantastic wines, and both a bit hard to judge right now as they are VERY YOUNG and VERY PRIMARY. The Howell Mtn. is a notch above the Second Chance as far as being a "darker, more brooding wine". Very mountain fruit in character. Rugged sweet black plum, anise, bitter chocolate, coffee grounds, sage, and a bit of balsamic wafting off the back palate. All wrapped in firm, but well integrated tannin and moderate acids. Should be fantastic with more age. This needs some time....92-94 pts.
'01 Neal Second Chance Cab.
While the Howell Mtn. was a more "brooding wine" lurking in the shadows, this was definitely the Rock Star! Compared to the Howell, the tannin here is just as firm and the acids just as present, but there is some VERY EXPRESSIVE fruit as well. Dark sweet black cherry, cocoa, strawberry/rhubarb pie, and creme brulee. I kept asking for more! Both had long finishes, but this wine was certainly not interested in keeping it's swimsuit on! Great concentration, power, and complexity, but like the Howell, it needs time to integrate and come around. 94-96 pts.
'00 Kistler Vine Hill Chard.
This was served with our salad and appetizer course. I think some of us were served the Vine Hill and some the Dutton Ranch? Not exactly sure. Anyway...very nice Kistler Chard. A couple steps down from the '99 Vine Hill (which is one of my favorite CA chards.). Some wet stone, mineral, sweet lemon pudding, and a light steely/flint character. Lighter bodied, with a minimal amount of oiliness to it. Not overwhelming on the midpalate and the finish was shorter than I hoped. Still a nice wine. Good with food....91 pts.
'91 B.V. GDL
This was clearly starting to tire out. Classic GDL/old school CA Cab. Ambering slightly on the edges. On the nose...Tobacco, prune/casis, and wet earth with a bit of "funk". On the palate it was showing light flavors of bland strawberry, tobacco, sweet wet earth, and plum. I think this peaked about 5 years ago, and then started on the decline. The fruit faded on the finish. 86 pts.
'93 Beringer Private Reserve Cab.
VERY NICE!! This reminded me quite a bit of the '92 only a step or two down. The bouquet mixed old world CA Cab (casis/tobacco) with some new world vibrant fruit and floral aspects (red rose petal, crushed fresh rasberies, cinnamon, and sandlewood). All of this matched well with the mid-palate. Red cherry, dark red floral notes, sweet rasberry, cedar, cinnamon, grandma's spice cabinet, wet earth and cigar spice box. The palate elegantly butterflied open into a long and beautiful finish. I'd give this 93 pts. solid, and well into it's peak years!
'89 Maya out of a 6.0 liter Imperial!!!
It's not every day you get to taste a wine of this stature out of this kind of large format! For me, that was the most impressive part about it. Unfortunately this wine is characteristic of the vintage. It has MONSTROUS structure with mega tannin and crisp vibrant acids, but there really wasn't much, if any, fruit behind it. This wine is still a baby, but I doubt it will ever come around. 85 pts.
'87 Heitz Martha's Vineyard
Very lovely wine. For me this fell between the '91 GDL and the '93 Beringer. Classic Heitz Martha's. Not nearly as potent or complex as the ethereal '74 I had a couple of months ago, but nonetheless, drinking very well, and holding it's own quite well. Tell tale bouquet of mint, eucalyptus, cedar, tobacco, and casis, with a touch of dried herbs. On the palate, very elegant flavors of sweet cranberry, red cherry, mint/eucalyptus, cedar, tobacco, casis, wet earth, and a slight hint of rosemary. This was a straight shooter from the nose, to the palate, through the finish. Very consistent. Still youthful and showing enough tannin and acid for further cellar time, but I see NO REASON to hold off any longer. 90 pts.
Then.....there were "other" bottles that started appearing at the table.....
'01 Pride Reserve Claret
Thanks to Pyang for uncorking this beauty! Lovely Pride vino! This, to me, is a bit more of an elegant and restrained Pride Reserve (when compared to the '01 Reserve Cab. or the '01 Foley Claret). Dark ruby red/purple in color. Typical Pride nose of candied red fruit and dark red roses. Lots of sweet fresh candied strawberry, cherry pie, toasty oak, vannilin, and mocha. Not quite the 1906 S.F. Earthquake that the Res. Cab. is, but still quite potent. The Merlot shows it's dominant character here. 95 pts. for me.
'01 Rudd Oakville Cab.
Thanks to Enjoyingwine for this one! To me this was fairly straight forward. Dark ruby red/purple in color. Red cherry, cinnamon, cigar spice, and some mocha. Nice wine, but this didn't impress me much. I wasn't fond of the '00, and while I liked this much better, I'm not going to rush out an make any purchases. 92 pts.
'75 Ch. d'Yquem
Thanks to Chico for bringing this, but....oh yeah....wait....I forgot....HE DIDN'T OPEN IT!!! You evil temptor!!
So much wine.....so little time!!!