The Chappellet (think: Shiv-oh-lay as in Louis Chevrolet) is a pretty good wine. Spectator obviously thought so and lavished it with 94 points, something not often seen in the under-fifty wine bin.
It's a big ruby red wine with good legs and (believe it or don't) a hint of strawberry you'd expect from a good Pinot Noir. Fumey on the nose with loads of black fruit. Give it some time to open up and you'll find the silky texture, blackberry, pencil lead, and black currants. If you're drinking it now you definitely want to give it some air. Let it breath. Decant it. The finish is tannic enough to let you know that this is a keeper. Wine Spectator says cellar it until 2010-2016. TWC is down with that. I'm betting 2012 to well beyond 2016. The intent was to create a luxurious Bordeaux style wine and in that respect, cellaring for several years is recommended and will enhance this wine.
We paired the wine with medium rare, mesquite grilled New York Strip steak, which always conjures up pleasant flashbacks to that weekend with the boys at the Colorado River. Jeffie-Pooh arrived with an entire dozen USDA prime New York Strip steaks courtesy of the Center Meat Company. Saturday night, following a blazing hot day on the water, we grilled them on a cheap hibachi. There were four of us twenty-something guys and we snaffled them up in the proverbial heartbeat. That's not quite three apiece. The math? Hey! We shared with Shamus, the all time world's most perfect dog. Finest German Shepherd that ever graced the planet.
Unlike that boys weekend out, we enjoyed some accompaniments with dinner here at Casa de las Rocas Grandes.
Just picked brown figs and garden fresh Japanese cucumbers with buttermilk dipping sauce.
Mushrooms sauteed in a white wine reduction sauce made from olive oil, butter, shallots, thyme, sea salt, & ground black pepper.
Baked asparagus drizzled with olive oil and four Italian cheeses with a little thyme.
Baked potatoes with sour cream and chives.
With the exception of the shrooms & potatoes all the vegetables were retrieved from the Casa gardens.
TWC had a bonus track in mind but at some indelicate moment it fled the room. Wait. Something there, perhaps the addled mind hasn't slipped entirely. It is but a matter of association. Aha!
Although TWC thoroughly enjoyed the wine, he isn't sure the Chappellet warrants a 94 today. Some appreciable potential there, however, perhaps a little time in the bottle is in order.
If you're ever in San Diego, Gentle Reader, spend an evening with Ingrid at Croce's in the Gas Lamp District.