Amit and I went up, and were soon joined by Dave Tong (see his blog entry on this event). This event was to show off examples of their 3 clubs, ATP, Z-list and Monte Bello Collector. ATP (Advanced Tasting Program) is limited production wines that are difficult to get your paws on if you aren't a member (about 9 wines a year). Z-list is two annual shipments of their larger production Zinfandels (ie. Geyserville, Lytton Springs, Pagani, etc.). The Monte Bello club gets you an invitation to the futures tastings and enables you to then buy at the futures price.
We opened with a couple Chards.
'07 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Nose - warm oak spice and lemon verbena, good citrus undertone and minerality, smooth, elegant, complex. Sweet oak, smooth lemon, basil, zingy, zesty, an enveloped note of pith, oak spice and fresh herbs. Needs time for the oak to integrate. Drink '15-'20. 92 pts
'92 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Nose - very mature, smooth, hazelnut, cardamon, subtle lemon curd, tarragon. Hazelnut, savory lemon, smooth zest, cardamon and nutmeg, tarragon. Excellent mature Chard. Drink now. 92 pts
Then a couple from the Z-list '07 Zinfandel East Bench (Dry Creek Valley) (8% Petite Sirah) Nose - youthful dark, brambly fruit, heavy almost tar-like sense. Opens up with nutmeg and smooth purple fruit. Dark, very plummy, spicy/peppery, slight touch of heat, dusty gritty tannin, some primary Cab-like notes. Drink '13-'18. 91 pts
'07 Carignane Buchignani Ranch (Sonoma County) Nose - smooth dusty fruit, a bit shy, blackberry. Smoky, pert, sultry, blackberry, raspberry, tarragon, dusty tannin, hops. Zesty finish with blackberry and lemon cream chocolate truffle. Drink '10-'16. 91 pts '04 Grenache Lytton Estate (Dry Creek Valley) (16% Petite Sirah, 9% Zinfandel) Nose - deep smoky mineral, smooth American oak, black fruit. Rustic, roasty/smoky plum, gritty tannin, orange zest, bramble, a bit astringent. Drink '14-'18. 88 pts
Then, drum roll please... '06 Monte Bello (Santa Cruz Mountains) (68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc) Nose - sweet heady spiced blackberry, touches of cinnamon and raspberry jam, sandalwood. Bursting zesty/smoky/savory/minerally blackberry, dusty tannin, good acid, some cedar and black currant, touch of lemon zest. Drink '20-'30+ 94 pts
After tasting, we sampled the impressive goods from Fatted Calf Charcuterie, and tested how well they interplayed with some of the wines. Impressive stuff! They are based in Napa and can also be sampled at the Saturday farmers market at the Ferry Building in SF.