Saturday, January 16, 2010

Holiday Inebriants

At the start of the holiday season, Michelle learned that she got a promotion. Hmm, what to do on such an occasion? Oh, I know, let's drink! We pulled out a special bottle with significance to celebrate, a 2003 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. This bottle was given to her at the completion of her PhD from her PI (boss) at the time. He was very animate that Silver Oak Cabernet is the best wine there is. It is also known that he never dabbles much with any other wine. Silver Oak is $ilver Oak in our book. When we couldn't afford to buy a bottle and try it out, we decided to pay a visit to $ilver Oak a few years ago during a wine tasting trip. Not only were we curious to taste a high-end wine, we also wanted see how well their cabs stand up against other local Napa greats. Michelle and I both agreed their cabs were great but during the trip, we experienced numerous other cabernet exemplars not priced like $ilver Oak.
Another funny side story about Michelle's former PI (principal investigator - this is the individual in charge of an academic laboratory): Apparently he was expecting a gifted shipment of two bottles of $ilver Oak. Shipments that arrive at the lab in his name are opened since the contents are likely essential lab inventory. This particular box was thought by him to contain two bottles of $ilver Oak. By the time he was able to get to the box, he was convinced a bottle was mi$$ing. After all, it was opened. While Michelle and other lab members believe there was never a second bottle, her PI continues the interrogation. In fact, even I was questioned about the bottle during Michelle's PhD defense celebration!
While the mystery remains, we enjoyed this bottle very much. It was an exceptional cab. Recently, I've seen Silver Oak deals as low as $40 for the recent release. Outside of that, you can expect to pay $60-$100 per bottle. While you can't go wrong with a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet, I would suggest Jordan (also from Napa) where you can likely buy two very nice bottles of cab for the price of one $ilver Oak.
The premier holiday party in San Diego is hosted by my homebrew club, QUAFF. I haven't been able to go to this highly revered event until this past season. How does one score an invitation to this exceptional beer event, you ask? Just be a member of QUAFF. The club acquires a number of special holiday bottles and many contribute other great beers too. Ed, Michelle, and I had a great time. I also was able to chat it up with Marcus, a fellow beer blogger (FinalGravity) and QUAFFer. I had a number of tasty beverages and a number of tasty eats. It rained throughout the evening but that didn't seem to slow anyone down. Poor Chuck's backyard became a little muddy and I know everyone brought a little of that in his house. Below is Marcus and I at the QUAFF holiday party. Notice that I'm carrying two cups! I learned that you have to be prepared at a moments notice when someone opens a special bottle.
While at Cantina Mayahuel this holiday I asked our awesome server, Misty, to pour me something extraordinary. She brought me two bottles of extra añejo and I decided to try both. The first tequila was Corrido Extra Añejo. The aroma, flavor, texture, and depth were awesome. Very smooth and well balanced. The Corrido is now on my radar!
I also tried the Abandonado Extra Añejo. Misty shared with me that a customer orders this tequila exclusively. How could I not try it!? Especially when the aroma from this bottle was fantastic. While it was very flavorful, I found the Abandonado to be more of a desert tequila than to group it with other añejos. It was insanely sweet! So much, that the distiller must have back-sweetened before bottling. At the same time, I realize that I try so many tequilas that I should take better notes and blog it!
Another inebriated holiday event was our friend Dana's ChocoVino party. We brought up a nice bottle to start off the party right, a 2006 Lane Tanner Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir. We were introduced to this exceptional wine during a Santa Barbara county wine tasting trip a couple of summer's ago. This particular bottle has been in our cellar since that trip. Its a bigger pinot than the many I've had, very expressive in fruit with subtle hints of smoke and floral notes in the nose. While the remainder of the evening was a bit of a chocolate fog, the Lane Tanner was very memorable. More to come soon...


  1. Will look out for the Pinot, both the cabs you mentioned are outstanding!

  2. I doubt you'll find Lane Tanner in Argentina! Its mostly local as a low production winery. I've read so much about Argentine wines in Wine Enthusiast and the beauty of your country. A visit at some point seeems to be desirable.


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