It was nice for Franciscan to schedule their Magnificat release party on my birthday, so I put together a nice balance of fun for a long weekend in Northern California.
Starting off day 1 of my birthday weekend with a round at Pebble Beach on Thursday - its an up and down round, but par a bunch of holes.
Stop by Petar's in Lafayette to see my friend - Dave that is still performing there after all these years. They did a nice remodel on the restaurant. But the St. Mary's crowd has taken over.
Friday morning its a round of golf at Pittsburg's Delta View - front nine was a little shaky but play 5 over on the back nine. My buddy Gary beats my score by 10.
For my birthday - Gary brings over a bottle of Joseph Phelps Bachus - 2004, we pay the corkage at Grissini's and have a great Italian dinner.
Now its time to still check Friday wine tasting at Wine Thieves (http://www.winethieves.com/) Jim and Ben are there, but the tasting doesn't come close to the Bachus we had earlier. I purchase a mixed case to fill some gaps in my current collection.
Saturday making a change by having a big breakfast for a change before heading up to Napa.
1st stop in Napa - Robert Sinsky on Silverado Trail. Love their Cabernet Franc and their Marcein red blend.
I have worn out my Joseph Phelps vest - so a quick stop to buy a new one, but what the heck - let's taste some wine too. Chardonnay, Pinot and a Merlot was on the tasting which they hadn't made since 2002. Normally the Merlot is reserved to blending in the Insignia. They were also pouring the 2006 Cabernet and of course Insignia. As a bonus we get a taste of 2005 Bachus.
Now its time to head over the Franciscan - we zip over on Zinfandel lane back to Hwy 29 and we make it on time. There was a private tasting with Janet Myers which I scored by being one of the 1st to register for the Magnificat tasting. Which is their Meritage blend.
Janet speaks to us about oak and its effect on wine. We get to try the recent vintage of Cabernet that is in Light, Medium and Heavy toast. Most of us like Medium toast the best. But we also mix all three to create own blend before heading into the library for the 2006 Release.
They are pouring 5 different vintages of Magnificat today. I like to drink Newer to Older, but speaking with Janet Myers she like to do the opposite. For me my taste buds have to warm old to the older vintages. Janet said the fruit in the newer vintages can over power the older vintages.
I start with the 2006 - still a little tight for me today, but then I decide to take her advice and jump over the 2001 and its amazing and better yet one of my favorite wine hosts is working the room with the '01 - Tom...who years ago we called Bob all day before realizing the mistake. He's a midwest guy and normally only works on Sunday. He's one of the best in Napa.
I jump over the 2003 which was in little 375 ml bottles and learn that the wine ages faster in smaller bottles. The '03 is fantastic too. Back into the limited access and there is music - two woman playing violins, great food - the Kobe beef sticks and the Salmon are very tasting with Franciscan's blend. The last vintage I taste is the 2004. Very nice, but you can't beat the 2001.
But then we find out that a wine club member brought in a 1989 Magnificat...you had to go into the 2006 room and say; "I heard a rumor..." Gary and I get the last two tastes of the '89 from the decanter. It has been well cellared, the cork looks good and how many times do you ever get to taste a 2o year old Napa blend. But now that's gone it back to see Tom with the 2001 and I camp out there for the remainder of the afternoon. Normally I like wine 3-5 years old, but the '01 is perfect with an amazing finish.
We were going to stop at Auberge for a burger, but we had some much food at Franciscan we head back to the East Bay.
It's Saturday night, but I'm too tired to head out.
Maybe golf in the morning.
It's been a great birthday - year 49 is off to a good start.