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Northern New Jersey- Forty-four guests attended the first of a two-day mega tasting which featured duplicate bottles of California “Cult” Cabernets. Headlining the event were numerous verticals of wines from estates such as Araujo, Bryant Family, Colgin, Harlan Estate, Shafer Hillside and Dominus among many others. What began on-line in late December of 1998 concluded last evening with no less than seventy bottles opened! Guests from as far away as Mobile, Alabama, Greensboro, North Carolina and Brunswick, Maine were on hand for this “once in a life-time” tasting. As an encore performance, a Bordeaux dinner tasting took place the following evening.
As organizer of the two day “Cult” wine tasting, I was charged with the immense task of not only keeping track of all the wines but the guests as well. Unlike single bottle tastings, I had to find guests that had the ability as well as the cellars to fill in on a number of two bottle verticals. Specifically, with more than forty guests, a single bottle of wine only goes so far. Even with two bottles, the pours were limited to less than two ounces per person. However, given this deficiency, there was still more than enough wine to go around. I should add that I could not remember another tasting where so many profound wines were poured!
I was impressed with overall
of the Saturday tasting. What started out as a rather subdued tasting
into a real (for the lack of a better description) feeding frenzy! I’ve
never witnessed this much interest or should I say excitement as I did
when I began to pour the verticals of Araujo, Bryant Family, Colgin and
Harlan Estate…only to be topped by the mad rush for the magnum of the
Yquem. It was quite a finale if I do say so myself. Talk about
Hosting the event was our own Steve Levy who turned his home into party headquarters for the dozens of thirsty not to mention hungry guests. I think all would agree that Steve’s generosity and hospitality made the “Cult” wine tasting immensely successful! Bravo Steve and Kelly! On the food side, award winning Chef Anthony Pucciarello was responsible for the numerous culinary delicacies that complemented the wines. A special thanks also goes out to Howard Stone who came up with the idea of building verticals. Ron Kramer who suggested a two-day event rather than a one-day tasting and Mark Squires whose bulletin board was so instrumental in the huge success of the Saturday tasting! In addition, I would also like to thank all of our generous guests that made the Saturday “Cult” Cabernet tasting memorable! Many of which traveled a great distance at great expense to be here.
All the red wines were served
flights of one, two, three and four bottle verticals over a five-hour
I set up the flights and poured the reds in a specific order. I was
to reserve the verticals of Araujo, Bryant Family, Colgin and Harlan
for the last two hours. As advertised all the wines that were on the
made it to the tasting! That is with the single exception of one bottle
of the ’93 Bryant Family. A ’95 Bryant Family was brought in its place
giving us three bottles of the ’95 (there were no complaints). There
also an extra bottle of the ’95 Araujo as well as a single bottles of
'90 Dalla Valle Maya and ’93 Insignia. Following dinner, “Showboat”
opened a magnum of ’76 Yquem. There was also at least one port and
a half dozen assorted dessert wines.
The Saturday "Cab" Line-Up
Saturday- 44 Guests and 64 Bottles of Cabernet!
There were two bottles or duplicates of the following Cabernets: '93, '94 and '95 Colgin, '94 and '95 Araujo, '94 and '95 Bryant Family, '92, '93, '94 and '95 Harlan, '93 and'94 Shafer Hillside Select, '90 Stag's Leap Cask 23, '91 Monte Bello, '95 Seavey, '90 and '92 Togni, '94 and 95 Insignia, '90 Dalla Valle, '96 Peter Michael Les Pavots, '93 Abreu, '95 Marcassin "Lorenzo", '90, '91, '92 and '94 Dominus and two bottles of the '77 Mayacamas. There were also single bottles of the following Cabernets: '93 Bryant Family, '93 Insignia and the '90 Della Valle Maya.
Over the course of the first hour, I started to pour a number of warm up whites that included two bottles of the '95 Marcassin "Lorenzo" Chardonnay together with single bottles of the following: '94 Marcassin "Gauer Ranch" Chardonnay, '97 Trevor Jones Chardonnay, '92 Zind-Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Gewurtz, '97 Neyers Chardonnay, '94 Beringer Sbragia and '94 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay. These were served with the initial appetizer course consisting of a fresh vegetable medley, Shrimp and mixed seafood platter and a cheese and pate’ course.
I began to pour the initial course of reds as dinner was served. For dinner we were served Prime Rib, Filet Mignon and roasted loin of Pork. Accompanying the entrees were two pasta dishes. I think most would agree that the quality of the food was excellent.
Sunday- 21 Guests and 31 Bottles of Wine!
The Sunday tasting centers around
four verticals. They are: La Mission Haut Brion ('78, '82, '83, '85,
'88, '89, '90, '95 and '96). Palmer ('70, '75, '78, '83, '86, and '89)
Angelus ('88, '89, '90, '94, '95 and '96) and La Conseillante
and '90) For starters, Dan Kravitz has generously contributed a
of Lamy Montrachet (‘89, '90, '91, '94 and '95)