October 28, 2000 -- Cafe Panache, Ramsey, New Jersey

What started out on-line some three months ago, concluded last evening with some forty guests attending the second installment of the "cult wine" series of tastings. Given the success of last year's "cult 1" tasting, this tasting featured over sixty bottles of premium wine. Most of which were luxury California Cabernet Sauvignon.

The tasting was broken down into two main segements. Over course of  the first hour and with the numerous appetizer selections, guests were treated to a number of starter wines. Most notable of these was a mean magnum of  1990 Latour Corton Charlemagne. Following these starter white wines, a number of mystery reds were also served. These wines consisted of a mixed bag of California Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Australian Syrah wines. All these wines were baged concealing their labels and identities.

    '96 Wild Duck Creek Alans Cabernet
         '91 Ridge Montebello
      '94 Mt Mary Quintet (Yara Valley)
    '97 The Blend
       '98 Parker Coonawara Estate 1st Growth
    '98 Henrys Drive Cabernet
       '96 Dalla Valle Cabernet Franc
      '97 Greenock Creek Cabernet

Of the mystery wines that I tasted, I liked the '98 Henry's Drive, '97 The Blend, '98 Parker Estate and the '97 Greenock Creek Cab. Unfortunatley, I missed some others including the Montebello which was gone in short order. Of these four, the "Henry's Drive" Cabernet and "The Blend" were showing exceptionally well! The Greenock Creek also showed well but required additional air time to come around. By that time, it had all but been consumed.

 For dinner, guests were offered a choice of "Rack of Lamb, "Loin of Venison" and "Filet Mignon". During this segment, the main body of red wines were served. All these wines were opened well in advance of dinner and poured in a specific rather than a random order over a two and a half hour period. Everyone that was drinking received an adequate pour as we had duplicate bottles of each wine on hand. We started with '91 Della Valle and concluded with the two vintages of  Araujo, the '95 and '96. Given the number of wines that were being served, there was simply not enough time to experience the evolution of  each wine in the glass. Aside from the wines being poured in a such a rapid succession, I think the tasting came off rather well. At least I didn't here any complaints.

The Headliners:

                                                                              '95 Bryant Family
                                                                                    '95 Araujo
                                                                                      '96 Araujo
                                                                                      '87 Dominus
                                                                                    '91 Dominus

  '94 Dominus
  '96 Dominus
   '95 Pahlmeyer
    '95 Venge Reserve
    '96 Venge Reserve
      '93 Shafer Hillside Select
    '91 Dalla Valle
    '96 Dalla Valle
           '93 BV Private Reserve George de la Tour
   '97 Seavey
    '91 Insignia
    '94 Insignia
    '95 Insignia
    '96 Insignia
    '97 Insignia
       '96 Jones Family
       '97 Jones Family

Steve Levy, Nancy Lentine, Ed Assidio and Tammy Youmans

Links to more tasting notes