Friday, October 25, 2013
Last night Vinomaker went down to the wine cellar to find something that would pair with our meatloaf dinner. He reappeared with a bottle of older wine that neither one of us could remember buying. At that point, I didn't know how old the bottle was as Vinomaker decided to blind-taste me on the mystery wine. I did OK - Napa Valley, red blend (heavy on the Syrah), vintage 2008. Whoops, wrong!
The Stags' Leap, 1998 Ne Cede Malis, Napa Valley Reserve is a blend of Petite Syrah (their spelling), Carignane, Grenache, Syrah, Peloursin and Mourvedre. Erm, yes, I was a whole decade off on the vintage - the still deep, ruby hue of this wine belied it's real age. On the nose I got hearty oakiness, rosy-lavender-talcyness and lots of mellow, red plum. This wasn't a big wine on the palate, more akin to a lighter Rhône style, but the structure was finely balanced. Again, red plums, floral notes, confident astringency (suggesting oak tannins to me), not the slightest hint of bitterness, but with the telltale chalkiness, for me anyway, that I often get from Petite Sirah.
This particular vintage, the 1998, was slammed by the wine press upon release. The Wine Speculator called 1998 the "Black Sheep Vintage," the resulting wines "tough, tannic and expensive." At 15 years old this wine is aging beautifully. Take that, Jim Laube!
Unfortunately, the Ne Cede Malis didn't pair that well with the meatloaf, it was just so-so. But I didn't give in to that little misfortune, besides I had a delightful Cabernet Franc waiting in the wings.
Nice find Vinomaker.