I was proud to preside over a new kind of wine tasting at Avalon Golf and Country Club over the weekend. Wine Academy: The Ultimate Wine and Food Experience was designed to feature super premium and older vintage wines that people simply can't acquire in their everyday lives.
The event was limited to the first 18 people who made reservations and the event sold out well in advance. The setting was Avalon Squaw Creek's beautiful wine room.
Here's a review of the four wines showcased at the event:
1. 1989 Piper-Heidsieck Vintage Brut Champagne
This bubbly showed incredibly well, especially considering it turned 25 on January 1! The efferevesence had diminished considerably as one would expect, but it had not transformed into a still wine. In fact, a slight hint of bubbles remained in the glass for at least 10 minutes after pouring. The wine opened with rich orchard fruit flavors of pear, peach and nectarine. These flavors evolved in the glass into a rich combination of cream, butterscotch, and toast.
2. 2002 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet
Aromas of black cherry, cassis, cedar and dark chocolate lead to flavors of black fruit, vanilla and brown spices with supple tannins that linger throughout the long and extracted finish. The 2002 Napa vintage was not highly rated when the wines were first released. Upon further examination a few years later, the wines received much higher ratings, including this beauty, which will continue to develop for at least 5 more years.
3. 2005 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet
Aromas of cherries, cocoa, and a hint of mint dance out of the glass. On the palate, plum, blackberry, and cherries complemented by velvety tannins leading to a uniquely long and elegant finish. The subtleties and beauty of this wine surpised many in attendance who expected it to be "bigger". Instead, it drank more like a well-aged Bordeaux than a monster Napa Cabernet.
4. 2007 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet
Opens with aromas of black currant, anise and wild mint. The flavor profile is both lush and intense with blackberry, cherry and blueberry beautifully integrated with smoke and semi-sweet chocolate, accented by mouth-coating tannins and an incredible finish. This vintage had 3% Cabernet Franc blended into it and it seemed to make a difference in the overall body of the wine. It received a 97 point rating from The Wine Advocate's Robert Parker, who called it "one of the greatest Private Reserves ever.."
We are already looking foward to the next "Ultimate" event in June which will feature wines from Bordeaux.