Old World v. New World
1999 Silver Oak, Anderson Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($ ) -- This was a magnum brought in by a friend from his cellar. It is one of his favorite producers. Beside being very "smooth" what you pick up mostly is the oak and vanilla. As a pre-dinner refreshment it was very good and I understand it's popularity around the table and the country. But maybe it it too monolithic in that the primary experience is oak. Again I enjoyed this wine, but I don't think it would have fared well with the dinner, nor would I want to drink it all night.
1999 Chateau Angelus St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe ($85) -- The nose was at first earthy and later after an hour diminished while the fruit flavors were full with lots of tannin, but not overly drying, and a long finish. Nothing thin about this wine. Almost meaty as I am guessing that this wine would improve with 5 to 10 more years of cellaring. It is not a simple California Merlot, but had lots of character and elegance, almost big. It went very well with the food without competing. I would buy again and stash away a few bottles to open in a few years.
So I came away from the evening enjoying both "styles" as each has its place and audience without a need for the rhetoric of "real" wines and "spoofalation" and personal attacks. I think its great that we have so many choice. So many wines, so little time!