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Dea said anything in her collection was fair game . . .

We continue to marvel at how wonderful our online wine friends are, and she’s a perfect example. Thanks again, Dea!

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Dea's back deck
From Left: Jon (Bigdog) Cook, Geo T.,
Dave Janelle and Dea Freid


July 5th was an open day on our agenda, so we scheduled a tentative visit with two hot new winemakers in Santa Rosa and accepted an invitation to visit our friend and fellow online wine geek Dea Freid. Big Dog offered to drive and we gladly gave him the gig. The winemakers had to bow at a late moment, due to a serious case of "being in the family way," but we had Plans B and C tucked safely in our back pockets. However, a comedy of errors took place, and we pulled into Dea’s rather later than we had expected. We were greeted by Dea and Dave Janelle, who     was in the neighborhood on wine-related business. By now, it was too late for the two alternate plans, so we just sat and knoshed on bread, cheese and fruit, whilst sipping some very nice wines indeed. (We also went a long way towards solving the world’s problems, but who’s going to listen to us?)

1995 Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir; 13.5 % alc.: The 1st Kistler for Madame and me; we don’t get out as much as we should. A pretty ruby garnet colored libation, this has a bouquet that reminds me of nothing so much as white house ice cream, all cherry and vanilla. The flavors echo, with a subtle tea leaf nuance that Kim found bitter, but I didn’t mind it at all. There’re still some tannins to resolve here, despite the fact that it’s so soft and smooth; a few years should reward patient cellaring. Very nice indeed!

1982 Chateau La Mission-Haut-Brion Graves; 12 % alc.: Dea said anything in her collection was fair game, and DJ was lusting after this, so it was opened, and what a beauty it is! It’s an inky dark garnet with little rust to speak of, with tobacco/olive/cassis/plum aromas that follow through on the palate with a lovely silky richness. It opens very nicely with air, but tannins and acidity will take this another five years down the road easily. A very special treat, this got a 97 from the Wine Spectator, for those who put credence in such matters…

1997 Clarendon Hills Brookman Shiraz; didn’t note the alcohol % for some reason: This purple dark garnet has a distinctive green olive note to it, along with buttered toast over black cherry/plum flavors and aromas. Big fruit, big tannins and big acidity, yet really enjoyable, especially as it smoothes out with air. Give this some time in the cellar too.

1992 Ridge Geyserville; 65 % Zinfandel, 20 % Carignane, 15 % Petite Sirah, 13.9 % alc.: Dave FORCED us to drink this wine from a producer that we’re not particularly fond of, and guess what? It’s terrific! There’s just a hint of barnyard over the obligatory raspberry/plum/blackberry bouquet that also shows some Draper perfume. The flavors match; this is just starting to go into that next phase of its development, but the secondary spices have yet to manifest themselves.

1995 Kistler Sonoma Chardonnay McRea Vineyard; 14.1 % alc.: We did this @$$-backwards, finishing with what should have been an aperitif, but I told Dea we’d never had a Kistler Chardonnay, and she felt that it was an injustice that needed to be corrected. I’m glad she did, because this pale gold is lovely, with butterscotch/ripe pear character and surprising acidity; even DJ liked it! My notes read, "Another creamy, dreamy Kistler."

With that, we had to saddle up and ride back to Cloudy Bay, but not before we thanked Dea for her very generous hospitality. We continue to marvel at how wonderful our online wine friends are, and she’s a perfect example. Thanks again, Dea!


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