October 11th., Grange Vertical

It started with a bottle of wine and a quite dinner for two Saturday evening. It ended last evening with six of us celebrating part Deux of Tammy's Birthday! The Players:The Grange Master, Steve Levy and his comedic wife Rhonda, Dave Klein and Debra Paster, who I might add contributed the wine of the evening. The Wines: '81, '82, '86, '90 and '91 Grange plus a starter wine. The location: Little Angelo's, a small Italian Restaurant located in the hills of Northern, New Jersey. The Cuisine: Good, but not able to stand up next to the Grange offerings...Although few foods can. {NOTE} Many if not all of these wines could be enjoyed on there own without food, al la the '91 Dominus et al. The wines: All terrific and not a dog in the bunch. Further, I have numerous tasting notes on all these wines and will post MY numerical "Ed" score with each wine. We started with Auzzie Cab that actually resembles an outstanding Shiraz rather than a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon based wine. To my notes:

'92 SEPPELT DORRIEN VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON- (92/93) High neck fill showing an overall deep, very dark ruby and purple color. The bouquet was just absolutely sensational! I had my nose in the glass for what seemed like five or more minutes. Hot Damn! Huge toast, licorice, coffee and jammy dark fruit flavors explode from the glass. On the palate the wine offers up a silky texture with an expansive muli-layered concentration of incredible super-ripe cassis and black fruits. This medium to full bodied wine has only ripe tannins with no trace of harshness. This highly extracted, beautifully textured wine is drinking great now and should hold ten years or more.

'81 GRANGE HERMITAGE- (95/96+) Medium neck fill showing a deep ruby color. The bouquet and palate impression took a good hour or so to begin to open up and come around. Unlike the purity of fruit found in the nose of '82 Grange, the '81 Grange shows more of an earthy component to go along with a restrained bouquet suggesting tar and black fruit fragrances. In the mouth, the '81 Grange is large scaled, backward and ungenerous with medium coarse tannins for the long hall. However, there is great promise here! In addition to the tannins, the '81 Grange offers up a mountain of highly extracted fruit and background spice. This beefy, hulk of a wine will drink and improve over the next twenty five years.

'82 GRANGE HERMITAGE- (99+) Perhaps the best bottle of wine I have ever tasted!!! Medium neck fill showing an overall saturated black and purple color suggesting ink and oil. A stunning bouquet of rich, ripe, jammy black raspberry fruit is simply extraordinary and hauntingly reminiscent of my previous experience with this wine! On the palate, the '82 Grange is perfectly balanced as well as seamless! It shows a depth and purity of fruit found it few wines. Quite simply, the wine offers up a multi-layered "creamy" mix of (extremely rich) sweet, silky, black fruits, raspberry and vanilla. The extraordinary texture and mouth- feel plus a dazzling level of lushness and intensity make this the wine of the evening!

'86 GRANGE HERMITAGE- (97/98+) Another profound wine made in the same mold as the dazzling '82. High neck fill showing youthful shades of black and purple. The bouquet (at this time) is not as riveting or complex as the '82 Grange, but is by no means far off the mark. The bouquet while somewhat tight and ungenerous does offer up deeply scented aromas of sweet raspberry compote, minerals and spice. In the mouth, the '86 Grange shows plenty of power, extract and grip a la the '81 and shows the purity of fruit found in the '82. It is sooo thick and unctuous that it has a port like consistency. It is also perfectly balanced and should drink and improve over the next twenty five years. This Grange may ultimately surpass the effort of the other worldly '82.

'90 GRANGE HERMITAGE- (93+) High neck fill showing a deep, dark, dense opaque purple color. The nose and palate impression are backward and ungenerous with unyielding mouth-puckering tannins. What it did show was a full bodied earthy/spicy texture with plenty of power and grip. I would have liked to see this wine evolve in my glass, but I'm afraid that it would have never opened up. Hold for seven to ten years.

'91 GRANGE HERMITAGE- Well, we never made it to the '91 Grange. So we save it for next Sunday!

There you have it. My favorites of the evening were the '82 Grange followed ever so closely by the '86 and '81.

'93 SEPPELT DORRIEN VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON- (95+) Having consumed no less than a dozen bottles of the stunning 92 Dorrien Vineyard Cabernet, I was anxious to get my nose as well as my palate into the newly released 93. Last evening I popped the cork on my first 93. To my notes: High neck fill showing youthful shades of purple and dark ruby color. Let me first say that I would purchase this wine on nose alone! There is so much going on here aromatically that it must simply be experienced to be believed! From the get-go, the bouquet literally roars from the glass! I had my nose in the glass for what seemed like twenty minutes or more. The 93 Dorrien Cabernet is more deeply scented than the 92 and cuts a fuller more complete profile on both nose and palate. The bouquet offers up a fabulous mix of cocoa, licorice, cassis and toasty, sweet oak fragrances. There were also aromas of smoke, cooked meats, earth and leather. My initial and mid-palate impressions revealed an outstandingly rich, yet perfectly balanced mouth-feel! The wine literally coats the lining of the mouth with superb, opulent flavors of ripe black fruits, licorice, sweet oak and mocha like flavors. There were also significant background tannins. However these tannins are masked by the huge reserves of highly extracted, dense fruit. This is a decadently rich, super concentrated effort from Seppelt that should drink and improve over the next fifteen years.