The Date and Time: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7PM - 10PM
The Event: dinner with Beth Novak Milliken, one of the owners of Spottswoode Estate winery (St. Helena, Napa).
The Venue: L'Avenue on Bayview
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: sporadic availability through EPNA.
The Quote/Background: Beth Novak Milliken of Spottswoode, one of the owners, handles all the international business. The family just recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of its renowned Cabernet Sauvignon. The land has been organic since 1985. She was in town to show off the latest vintage of her wines, plus some others for comparative purposes. We ate dinner with the wines, Beth spoke to the wines, and we all had a Q and A along the way about the wines and California, the winery, and so forth.
The Wines and Food: The menu came unannounced, beginning with escargots in cream sauce served with Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc 2011 followed by the 2013. 2011 was still fresh, but much leaner than 2013 which had 15% sauvignon musque added for fruity complexity. 2013 was 100% small barrels (stainless, French oak, concrete), 72% from Sonoma ($40 – 45 in Ontario) – creamy floral notes, fully developed and balanced already although it will keep [3.5 stars, 88 - 90]. Next up was braised lamb shoulder en papillote and beet puree and beet greens, with Spottswoode Field Book Griffin's Lair Syrah 2010 (with 4% Viognier added). This is a wine currently only available to its regular customers at $45US, a bruiser at 14.8% ABV. Very North Rhonish with its blackberry, iodine, black colour, and some smoked meat with leather (or should that be smoked leather?). [4 stars, 91+]. We also had Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, a sort of affordable second label wine that was exceedingly dense but also approachable with dark fruit and off-dryish finish ($70 US) [3.5 stars, 88 – 90].
With the beef stew (aka bourguignon but with added carrots) came a mildly corked Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, which was sad – judging by the long faces at the table. I had a couple of sips after we finished everything else, and it seemed to me to have come around a bit so that I could detect cassis and, of course, some muted mustiness (but not as much as before). We were then skedded to have the Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, before seguing to a cheese course to finish off the wines. It was lush and plush with MVC notes for Bordeaux-like feel of cedar, cassis, vanilla, cream, good body and excellent food finish ($150 US) [4 stars, 91+].
The Contact Person: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 96.