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the california wine club

What is the oldest wine you’ve ever sipped?

A bottle of Troplong-Mondot 1893 Bordeaux - agoodtimewithwine.com

A bottle of Troplong-Mondot 1893 Bordeaux

It often seems the world is all about youth and being young. Cosmetics promise to “stop the aging process,” and drink supplements are called “the fountain of youth.” However, wine aficionados buck this trend, and seek out the old, coveting the aged wines that have matured and evolved. It’s often quite a celebrated experience to sip wines with 5 or 10 or more years of age on them. When I reviewed The California Wine Club, I did not get into the details of their Ancient Cabernet series. I felt discussing aged wines needed a post of its own.

I still wholeheartedly endorse The California Wine Club. Some bloggers reviewed The California Wine Club Premier Series, which for $39.99 a month offers two wines per shipment. It’s also what was offered to one lucky winner of the 3-month California Wine Club subscription giveaway! They have 4 other series, the Signature Series, International Series, The Aged Cabernet Series, and the Pacific Northwest series. I was asked to review their Aged Cabernet series, receiving two wines to review. I was quite certain I would receive two no-name, long-lost wines that would be vinegar in a pretty box. Glad I was wrong.

Reviewing Martin Ray 1993 and Delectus 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon - agoodtimewithwine.com

Reviewing Martin Ray 1993 and Delectus 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

The wines were from fairly reputable and well-known wineries, Martin Ray and Delectus. As a matter of fact, I was recently invited to a Delectus tasting here in South Florida. Of course Martin Ray Winery is owned by Courtney Benham, and you can find both of those labels in stores everywhere. The bottles seemed to be in good shape, with very little wear on the label or capsules. Of course, the fear of opening older wines is that they are over the hill, or worse, spoiled! Fear or not, I opened the wines in preparation of tasting them. I decided I would use the older Martin Ray as an opportunity to practice decanting old red wine for my upcoming Certified Sommelier Exam, even though the CA Wine Club said it would not be necessary.

Opening the Martin Ray 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon was uneventful. The cork was still firm and taut, and there was very little seepage up the cork, even after nearly 20 years of cellaring. I decanted the wine, leaving about 1/4 of a glass in the bottle with the sediment that occurs as part of the aging process. I can geek out about how the sediment forms, but just know, older red wines are likely to have sediment that you don’t want to drink. For a 21-year-old wine, it was still very taut and tightly wound, and did need to breathe a little bit.

Tasting the Martin Ray 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon  Napa Valley - agoodtimewithwine.com

Tasting the Martin Ray 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 Napa Valley started off with tart cranberry and cherry, with a little wood and cough syrup. With about 20 minutes of air, it softened a little, with a bouquet of pine needles and decaying roses, cinnamon and subtle vanilla scents as well. The palate was exceptionally dry, with walnut, sour cherry, and baking spices. While it was on the decline, it was still quite drinkable, and had a good bit of life left. It went quite nicely with our Easter Dinner of Prime Rib!

Reviewing Delectus Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Napa Valley - agoodtimewithwine.com

Delectus Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Napa Valley

The Delectus Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Napa Valley give me a bit of a fit with the cork. I could not find my Ah-So opener, which is also called a Butler’s Thief. That is the two-pronged device that you wiggle into a wine bottle, and slowly wiggle out older, delicate corks. Sadly, the cork was so brittle that the regular corkscrew demolished it, and it end up falling into the bottle. However, I am NOT going to let a little cork slow me down!  I decanted the Delectus 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, again practicing for my Certified Sommelier exam, leaving as much sediment and cork in the bottle as possible. I then placed a piece of cheese cloth over the decanter, and poured it into our glasses. I would have possibly used a coffee filter, which would have been even more effective than the cheesecloth.

Using Cheesecloth to filter out the crumbled cork

Using Cheesecloth to filter out the crumbled cork

The Delectus was 12 years old and still had fresh fruit of black cherry, blackberry, and plum with coca and leather. There was a fistful of baking spices and the 15.2% ABV still packed a whallop! There was still quite firm tannins on this older cabernet sauvignon, and decanting it for air was definitely the right thing to do. Again, it worked perfectly with our Prime Rib dinner, and was a very nice bottle of wine.

I want to add that I am a Money Where Your Mouth is kind of guy. I only write favorably about the wine club and services of The California Wine Club because I feel it is good value for the money. I am also ordering some of their older bottles of wine for my cellar. I believe one will be this Clos du Val Wine Company 1981 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which was made by Bernard Portet, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting twice. I don’t just write favorable articles because people sponsor my posts and send samples. I write because I believe in what they’re offering. I will, however, order before May 22, 2014 and use one of these California Wine Club codes:

Club25: This is good for $25 off your first box (or a case or gifts!)
Club4for2: Double your club membership: 4 bottles for the price of two

Now, I will get back to the original question in this post’s title. What is the oldest wine you’ve ever sipped? For me, it was a 1967 Chateau Haut-Brion, which I enjoyed with friends in November 2013. Not the best year for Bordeaux, it was certainly memorable!

Chateau Haut-Brion 1967 - agoodtimewithwine.com

Chateau Haut-Brion 1967

What about you? What is the oldest wine you’ve ever sipped? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know!

 

 

 

 

Is The California Wine Club The Wine Club For You?

With Mother’s Day around the corner, you could get mom a gift of visiting California, so she could enjoy wine country. Or, you could bring wine country to mom, giving the gift of wine from small boutique CA wineries. For the past 23 years, husband and wife Bruce and Pam Boring visit the smaller wineries in California, creating relationships, so they can bring boutique wine country to you in convenient, monthly shipments! The California Wine Club  not only offers great wine club options, they’ve provided me with great coupons for wine discounts, as well as a giveaway for one lucky reader!

Welcome to The California Wine Club - perfect mother's day gift

Welcome to The California Wine Club

I am a firm believer that wine lovers need to travel to the source more frequently. You develop a bond with the land, the grapes, and the people who make the wine. You learn more about what you do and do not like about wine. Additionally, it creates an amazing experience to relate when you open a bottle to share with friends. However, if you can’t travel to find great wines, the next best thing is joining a wine club that travels for you!

I was skeptical when asked if I were willing to receive samples of wines from the The California Wine Club for a sponsored blog post. I don’t belong to any wine clubs, though I have in the past. I feel as a Sommelier, I’m happier picking out wine from my own travels. I feared I would have a hard time finding something good to write about the club, especially as previous clubs have sent poor quality bulk wine, not worth the effort expended to remove the cork. It turns out, however, that Bruce and Pam Boring are on to something with their California Wine Club, which has been their passion for the last 23 years.

The theory behind The California Wine Club is simple, and one I previously considered as a business model! Pam and Bruce visit smaller wineries in California with the goal of finding great wines that don’t have the distribution to make it out to you. They develop relationship with the winemakers and owners, and try to select excellent wines to send to you monthly. They have five different club options, starting with the Premier Series for $39.99, as well as the Signature Series, International Series, The Aged Cabernet Series, and the Pacific Northwest series. I was given samples of the Aged Cabernet Series, with a club price of $150 to $235, which offers “prestigious Cabernets aged 8-12 years.”

Ancient Cab Selections from the California Wine Club

Ancient Cab Selections

The wines I received were Martin Ray 1993 and Delectus 2002. The condition of the bottles were good, and I trust they were stored properly. The cork on the older, 21 year old wine was fine, and a corkscrew worked perfectly. The younger 2002 cork was spongy and brittle, and the screw killed it. I did not have an “Ah So”, and wish I did. The reading material that comes with the wines explains how to care for your wine, such as standing it upright prior to serving to let the sediment settle, as well as using an “Ah So” for the delicate corks. Determined to drink my wine, I used cheese cloth and filtered the Delectus into a decanter, though a coffee filter would have been great to get the crumbled cork out of my way!

Ancient Cab Sections - Martin Ray 1993 and Delectus 2002 from California Wine Club

Ancient Cab Sections – Martin Ray 1993 and Delectus 2002

I loved how much care was paid to the details with the wine shipment. For example, a color pamphlet explained to origin of the wines, as well as the tasting notes at the time of bottling versus what to expect now! They offered food pairing ideas, which were spot on. I think Pam and Bruce Boring do a great job trying to find the lesser known gems for their club members. They produced a video called The Hunted, which explains a bit about them and their mission. I recommend reading through their site, to learn more about the club options, which have expanded to other regions of the US, and the world, to find wine to tempt your palate! I for one support the mission, and think The California Wine Club is a great gift idea!

Now on to the great gift ideas for Mother’s Day. Thanks to California Wine Club,  #FNICHAT and @CookingWCaitlin, I am pleased to offer you two GREAT coupons to bring gifts of  The California Wine Club  to your mom, mother-in-law, or just to use for yourself. Simply visit the  The California Wine Club and use the following codes, good until May 22, 2014:
Club25: This is good for $25 off your first box (or a case or gifts!)
Club4for2: Double your membership: 4 bottles for the price of two

That is all you need to give a great Mother’s Day gift, while saving a little money! Who said being frugal prevents you from giving a great gift?!

Also, Please join us for a very special virtual Wine Tasting #FNIChat on Monday April 28th, just in time for Mother’s Day!

Now, the giveaway, where ONE winner will receive a 3-month subscription to The California Wine Club Premier Series, a $154 value! There are a few simple things you need to do in order to be entered in the giveaway. First, the giveaway is open to US residents only, and you must be 21 years or older. The giveaway starts Weds April 23rd and is over Mon April 28th. One winner will be selected at random on Tuesday April 29th. You can do just one, or all of the things to get entries into the giveaway, and some you can do multiple times! Additionally, several other bloggers are reviewing and giving away their own California Wine Club Premier Series prize, so be sure to visit them. I’ll link to each of them after the contest rules!

1 – Tweet the following (you can tweet 1 per day from 4/23 through 4/28), simply click this to tweet or copy and paste the following exactly: I entered a #wine giveaway from @cawineclub & @cookingwcaitlin! Visit @mmwine’s blog for your chance to win http://ow.ly/w0jNf

2 – Leave a comment below, sharing who you’d give a gift of wine to!
3 – Follow Matthew Horbund on Twitter – @mmwine
4 – Follow The California Wine Club on Twitter – @cawineclub
5 – Like A Good Time With Wine on Facebook

6 – Like  Like The California Wine Club on Facebook!
7 – Follow The California Wine Club on Pinterest
8 – Pin the above photo of the 2 wine bottles

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are doing their own giveaways of The California Wine Club Premier Series memberships!

The California Wine Club

The California Wine Club

 

Do you belong to any wine clubs? Leave a comment below, and let me know your thoughts!

–Edit–
The following was written up by the team of Cooking With Caitlin, and I thought it tied together the group that tried out the club nicely!

Deep thoughts on The California Wine Club

In their ongoing effort to distinguish themselves, the folks at The California Wine Club reached out to a savvy group of wine, food, and entertaining bloggers for their takes on The Club. They packaged up their California wines, shipped them throughout the country…and then braced themselves for candor.

The following posts are the result of the blogger campaign. Read on for the thoughtful reviews and brilliant ideas on how to really enjoy a California Wine Club subscription — from cork-removal, to cheese pairings, to giveaways, The Club and these bloggers have you covered. Enjoy: