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An American theme

September 8, 2016

These tasting notes stem from a gathering after hours to mark the first anniversary of SS’s establishment at Gleneagles, 12 Aug 2016. Most of the wines had been aired for some time prior to tasting, pairing well with the decadent pork prepared by LF. An American theme had been proposed which turned out very well. All wines are courtesy of LF unless otherwise stated.

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2011 Kistler Dutton Ranch Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, aired ahead in bottle. Gentle aromas of crème and chalk with further notes of nutmeg and varnish, quite ample in lime and tangy citrus, displaying crisp acidity and lovely tension, finishing well. Excellent.

2008 Ferrari Carano Sonoma County Chardonnay, aired ahead in bottleRather shut at this stage, quite minerally, just offering glimpses of white petals and gentle citrus, beautifully veiled at the moment, though one appreciates the huge potential here just waiting to blossom. Needs more time.

2008 Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch, aired ahead in bottle. A highly unusual bouquet of red fruits, wild berries and red plums with overtones of ash and camphor, bright and open with further notes of cinnamon on the palate, oozing with sweet tannins though slightly stern at the side. Very burgundian. Very successful.

2011 Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, aired ahead in bottle. A great abundance of red cherries, strawberries and other red fruits, very ripe, giving rise to a lifted aromatic sweetness with an excellent pinot core that is rich, deep and harmonious. Very lovely.

1998 Silver Oak Alexander Valley, aired ahead in bottle. Displaying some vermillion at the rim with lovely floral aromas and predominant red fruits and red roses on the palate with secondary nuances of cinnamon and cassis. Highly enticing and open. Excellent.

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2005 Joseph Phelps Insignia, a bottle I’d decanted for 5 hours prior. An abundance of dark plums, dark currants and black fruits producing deep lovely aromas though quite reticent initially. Rich in dark tones and concentration on the palate with a tarry quality and great acidity, opening up with brighter notes after some time, culminating in a mild graphite finish. Excellent, but far from peaking.

1998 Silver Oak Napa Valley (courtesy of CJ). Popped and poured. Quite fascinating to compare the Napa Valley and Alexander Valley of Silver Oak from the same vintage with the benefit of significant bottle age. Supposedly higher in the pecking order, this wine displays good definition of red fruits and plums, medium-bodied and surprisingly bright, absolutely harmonious with fine acidity, linearity and lovely tension, coming across as just a tad more sophisticated than the Alexander Valley but there is really nothing much to separate them. At its peak and will hold for many more years.Excellent.

1997 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon (courtesy of Hsiang Sui). Popped and poured. A mild cork taint is evident here, the wine already evolved quite well with characters of red fruits and briar and earth, displaying good linearity and harmony though permeated by a woody overtone.

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