Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cronin Dinner

I've been very busy recently and haven't kept the blog up-to-date. I'm trying to catch up with some short posts on recent events.

My friend Wes Barton recently organised another Cronin dinner. As regular readers will know, K&L recently sold off much of the late Duane Cronin's wine library, which was snapped up by several local collectors. This was the third Cronin dinner that Wes has organised and it focussed on Cronin's Pinot Noirs. The guest of honour was Duane's widow, Nancy Cronin. It was a pleasure to meet her, but unfortunately she got called away early since her younger son Sam had a minor cycling accident.

Due to our babysitter cancelling at the last minute I wasn't able to take proper notes, so here are a few impressions.

Among the line-up was a pair of very early wines - a magnum of 1980 and bottle of 1981 Ventana Vineyard Pinot Noir. The 1980 was excellent; it had aged superbly and had plenty of vibrant fruit. The 81 had not fared so well; it had a strong flavour of shiitake mushrooms.

There was a vertical of Santa Cruz Mountains Pinots from 1993 to 1996. Of those the 1996 had fared the worst; it tasted older than he rest. The 93 and 95 got praise from the burgundy fans with the 95 (from a magnum) being pronounced very young. I enjoyed the 1994 with its slightly funky nose, though some tasters considered that it lacked complexity in comparison.

There was also a vertical of Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Pinots from the 1990s. The earlier vintages showed well, with good fruit, but the later vintages seemed overly acidic and unbalanced. Maybe they are in a "dumb phase" and just need more time.

There were also other Santa Cruz Pinots from McHenry and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, but for my tastes none of them were anything like as good as the Cronins.