Tasting Notes To Savor

by David Donalson

Savor Dallas should be an important event for Dallas foodies and wine geeks as it is one of the few opportunities to sample this much food and alcohol in a single location and I have to say, the Metroplex came out in force. From bubbles to beer, whites to whisky, there was something for everybody but since I am that wine geek, I thought I would focus on the booze.

At the reserve tasting, it was all about the Cabernet Sauvignon. While I loved the 2009 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru “Clavoillon” for its crisp minerality and soft mouth feel and of course the best in terms of bubbles, Krug Grand Cuvee, with its beautiful bouquet of brown spices, lemon meringue and flan, the heart and soul of Dallas has always been about the big red, three of which stood out to me as exceptional: 2007 Lancaster Estate, 2008 Quintessa and 2008 Hewitt.        

Both Quintessa and Hewitt come from the Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley and shared some typical characteristics but with some subtle differences. Both maintained a high level of dense blackcurrant and black cherry  with a tinge of the “Rutherford dust” but Quintessa showed very dense, almost like a fruit cake (a really delicious fruit cake) while the Hewitt was more viscous and floral, accenting the violet and lavender notes with a softer mouth feel. The Lancaster Estate was the star in my book. It had a softer fruit character, less dense blackcurrant and redcurrant, with more of a bing cherry flavor giving way to a well defined graphite minerality and minty undertone that sang on the palate.

At this point, it was time to make my way up to the 4th floor and see what was being offered to the masses at the grand tasting. Before the crush that is Dallas entered the space, I was able to confirm that Cakebread is Cakebread, a fairly complex set of wines that are easy to drink, though the biggest surprise was the Zinfandel. Who knew Cakebread did a Zin?

Next to Cakebread though is a personal favorite, Sequoia Grove. Michael Trujillo, winemaker at Sequoia Grove and Karl Lawrence, was there to answer any questions we might have but all I could do when tasting was smile. His Cabernets always seem to be balanced with a stronger mint character and fairly well integrated tannins. These were stellar. Other highlights included Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut, clean and a great palate refresher after eating several little bites, like Restaurant AVA’s pate or Dragonfly’s slightly smoked salmon on saffron couscous (try saying that 5 times fast), Wrath’s Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir and three tempranillo blends from the Ribera del Duero: Emilio Moro, Celeste and Tinto Pesquera. These wines were absolutely phenomenal; rich, spicy and earthy, these were beautiful examples of the style of Ribera del Duero.

For those of you who also enjoy beer and spirits, there were tables for you too. In fact, one of the most educational (and fun) tasting I did was comparing 18yr Highland Park Scotch to 18yr Macallan. The main difference was sweetness versus peatiness. The Macallan was more caramel and toffee while the Highland Park was better balanced and just a touch of peat peaking through the floral, spicy scotch. For me, Highland Park was the better product. On the beer side, there was a huge Great Brewers table that I just never made it through. Oh well, I guess I will just have to drink Don de Dieu, a 9% abv triple wheat ale made by Unibroue. With the sweet citrus notes and fullness on your palate, it was great with Button’s “BBB”, brisket, cornbread and beans, one of my favorite dishes of the night.

There were so many other dishes and beverages that were
excellent but I thought these were some of the standouts in my mind. What was your favorite?

1 Comment

Filed under Cocktails, Crave, Dallas, David Donalson, Wine

One response to “Tasting Notes To Savor

  1. hackey37

    Good article and want to agree with you on two of the wines I have tried you mention here, which happen to be sparklers. I love (who wouldn’t?) the Krug Grand Cuvee and it is a pricey but memorable and delicious. I also have tried the Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut (and the Brut Rose) and both are great sparklers for the money.

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