Wine Tasting Notes: Some 2004 Reds

A visit from an old friend from my Auberge du Soleil days prompted an opportunity to open a few bottles of wine. I pulled of trio of reds from the 2004 vintage, which for me, should all be showing pretty well at this point. Here’s a quick run-down of the wines, before the bottles head to the recycling bin, and they are forgotten forever.

2004 Gary Farrell Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Bradford Mountain Vineyards: A wine like this one solidifies my opinion that Sonoma’s Dry Creek appellation is the greatest region for high-quality Zin. At five years old, this bottle was perfectly smooth on the palate, with plenty of vibrant fruit. As far as Zinfandel is concerned, there isn’t much room for improvement here, and my instincts suggest that I opened this bottle at its peak. A little research reveals that this wine was a meager 308-case production. I remember purchasing this bottle on my first stop of the day, sometime back in the Fall of 2006, as I toured Westside Road on a Pinot Noir mission. But I’m always game for a good Zin.

2004 Del Dotto Cave Blend: I purchased this bottle back when Del Blotto — I mean, Del Dotto — only had its Atlas Peak location. The wine was a bit of a curiosity, with 44% Merlot, 32% Cabernet, 16% Sangiovese and 8% Cabernet Franc. Still, despite its mongrel blend, it was a very tasty wine, featuring just 14% alcohol, which definitely worked in its favor as a casual sipper. I happened to notice that the winery’s current release, the 2005 Cave Blend, is 82% Cabernet with 18% Cabernet Franc. Clearly, there is not a lot of consistency from year to year with this particular bottling, which may be worth keeping in mind.

2004 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon: As we drank our way from Zin to Merlot to Cab, this bottling was the natural conclusion for two reasons: (1) it neatly completed our trilogy of the 2004 vintage, and (2) after two good wines already in the bag, the Paradigm would guarantee that this drinking session would not end on a letdown. As expected, the Paradigm featured a faint hint of bottle bouquet that quickly evaporated, revealing the wine’s typical Oakville profile. Whenever you combine great pedigree (namely, Paradigm’s terrific Oakville bench vineyard) with great wine making (Heidi Barret consults, enough said), the results are practically a given. In this case, the Paradigm delivered on its promise.

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