Notes from a California theme dinner recently.

1996 Henriot Brut – now showing some colour, nice yeasty nose, sweet
entry, crisp finish. Served with Read Island oysters.

2006 Claudia Springs Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Klindt Vineyard –
chard from a Zin producer! Good colour, a fruit driven obviously
pinot nose, mostly blueberries, then a sweet fruit entry, good
balance, medium long, a not overly complex but very enjoyable ready to
drink Pinot. Served with seared foie gras and truffle crisps.

1991 Dominus – cocoa and spice in the nose of this garnet wine, with a
decided dill component, mellow with medium body, good length, elegant
and drinking at peak. This would make an excellent claret imposter in
a blind tatsing.

1996 Dominus – rubber and plum in this nose, sweet entry, lots of
stuffing here and really excellent length. No rush, sweeter than the
91 and this was one of the few that wouldn’t have much success posing
as Bordeaux. No rush on this one.

Two excellent wines, served with duck breast with port wine reduction.

1987 Opus One – funky at first although it did clean up its act after
much swirling and showed pretty good fruit and significant tannins,
but it never had a chance against the next wine.

1987 Mondavi Reserve – Not quite as dark as the Opus, to my surprise,
but added facets of the nose included spice, vanilla and cocoa. Very
tasty with a long interesting finish with espresso bean and plum.
Lovely.

With lamb shanks and garlic mash.

2003 Taylors LBV Port – popped so we’d have something with the cheese.
Dark, chocolately notes, good stuffing, a good LBV.