Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, February 26, 2011


2006 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Cinq Cépages – USA, California, Sonoma County Mocha and tea on the front end of the palate leads to blackberry and cherry, with a touch of oak towards the end. Rich and creamy in the mouth, the black tea and dark chocolate flavors are the star, with dark fruit behind. The tannins have good grip, and the finish has a pleasant woodiness. (91 Points)

2007 Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley Lots of black tea and blackberry on the nose, with toasted oak in the middle, and some herbs at the end. Rich and slightly jammy on the palate, with plenty of dark fruit and charred oak to carry it. The tea and earth flavors round out the finish. (90 Points)

2007 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley A very mineral driven nose, with the berry fruit taking a back seat. There was also some spice, and a little floral notes at the end. The palate was rich and smooth, with dark fruit and stone. It finished with a spicy floral taste. (90 Points)

2007 Laird Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley Lots of spice and cocoa on the nose, with hints of herbs and smoke. The fruit came thru at the end – mainly cherry, but also a little currant. Fruitier on the palate than the nose, it had blackberry and plum, berry and cherry. The chocolate and herbs were there, but it in the background. The finish was earthy. (90 Points)

2008 Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, North Coast, Redwood Valley Toasted oak and sweet berries on the nose, with hints of chocolate and dried herbs underneath. Rich with sweet, wild berries, the palate has ripe tannins and a nice woodsy quality without being overly oaky. (89 Points)


2007 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville Spicy and rich on the nose, the fruit and earth come on strong in the middle. The palate flavors are much the same as the nose. The tannins are tight, so it needs some more time. (92 Points)

2006 J. Moss Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley A huge amount of oak on the nose. It covers up the cherry and mocha. Extremely rich, with lots of dark fruit and oak. It might be too young, but not very good too me.

Andrew Will Tasting

Andrew Will Tasting
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Thursday, February 24, 2011


2006 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain A little tight on the nose, but it did have dark, black fruit and cigar box notes. There was quite a bit of spiciness and and wood notes in the middle, and it ended with a big shot of cinnamon. Extremely soft on the palate, the clove and spice flavors mix well with the black fruit. The finish has a nice cedar flavor. (91 Points)

2006 Andrew Will Champoux Vineyard – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills Heavy on the graphite and blackberry, the nose also had lots of dark fruit and spice. More balanced on the palate than the nose, the spice, fruit, and earthy flavors played nice together. (90 Points)

2007 Andrew Will Sorella – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills A lot of toasted oak and smoke on the nose, with blackberry and roasted coffee beans. Richer on the palate, than it is on the nose, the blackberry and black currant take center stage, with the espresso and smoke showing up in the middle. It was more creamy on the finish then I remember it being. (90 Points)

2007 Andrew Will Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Lucia – USA, Washington A full, rich nose of raspberry and black currant, intermingled with tobacco and dark chocolate notes. There is also a spicy meatiness towards the end. There’s a bit no restraint on the palate. The flavors are al there, but they’re hidden behind some fairly big tannins. (88 Points)

Spanish Wines

Spanish Wines
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, February 19, 2011


2008 Bodegas Atalaya Almansa – Spain, Castilla-La Mancha, Almansa Big fruit on the nose, especially cherry and blueberry, surrounded by baking spice and smoke. There’s a lot of stone on the palate, but the fruit underneath is really bright. The acidity grows through the mid-palate, and it finishes with some curry spice. (92 Points)

2008 Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell Jumilla (Silver Label) – Spain, Murcia, Jumilla Very floral on the nose, with hints of cherry, meat juice, and blackberry underneath. Rich and juicy on the palate, the cherry and blackberry fruit are right upfront, with the meat and spice notes coming in on the mid-palate. It finishes with nice floral notes. (91 Points)

2006 Ferrer Bobet Priorat – Spain, Catalunya, Priorat It has a little of the fake cherry juice on the nose, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. It also had some coffee bean and raspberry. Rich and soft on the palate, the red fruit and mocha mix is nice. (89 Points)

2001 Bodegas Las Orcas Rioja Solar de Randez Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja The nose was fairly tight, but did have nice tobacco and cherry aromas. The tannins were soft on the palate, and the flavors were good, but there wasn’t a whole lot there. (87 Points)

2008 Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio – Spain, Murcia, Jumilla A massive fruit bomb on the nose. Blueberry, cherry, and creamy oak. The palate is pretty much the same. Over-oaked, and too much fruit. Not my style, so I won’t score, but it’s in the 87-88 range.


2006 Benjamin Romeo Rioja Predicador – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja A really earthy nose of stone, cedar, and smoke. After that is some floral notes before the blackberry fruit makes an appearance. The palate is much the same as the nose – earthy, floral, then fruity. I like it. (92 Points)

2005 Bodegas Muga Rioja Aro – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja Heavy on the earthy aromas, the nose has incense and spice, floral notes and toasted oak. After that a little blackberry. Toasted oak on the palate, the earth flavors are upfront, with the black fruit underneath. (92 Points)

Slow Lamb with Baked Provencal Tomatoes

Here’s an easy recipe for cooking a whole leg of lamb. The cooking time for this recipe says it takes about 4 hours for a 2 lb leg. I had a 5-6 lb leg and it took me about half that time to get to medium rare (140 degrees), so use a thermometer to check for the doneness you want.

Slow Lamb with Baked Provencal Tomatoes from French Food at Home


For the lamb - 1 (2-pound) lamb leg on the bone - 3 tablespoons olive oil - Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper - 1 cup white wine - 1 head garlic, broken into unpeeled cloves - 3 bay leaves - 4 short sprigs fresh rosemary - 1 large bunch fresh thyme sprigs

For the tomatoes - 4 medium tomatoes - Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper - 1 heaping tablespoon bread crumbs - 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh parsley - 1 clove garlic, minced - Olive oil, for drizzling


  1. For the lamb: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

  2. Rub the lamb with about half the olive oil and season generously with salt, and pepper. In an oven-proof casserole just large enough to hold the lamb, brown the meat on all sides on the stovetop. Deglaze with the white wine. Lay the garlic and herbs on and around the lamb. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake in the oven for 4 hours, turning once at half time. Remove from the oven and serve from the casserole with the juices spooned over. This is nice served with baked tomatoes and sauteed potato slices.

  3. For the tomatoes: Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  4. Cut the tomatoes in half at the waist. Lay them cut-side up in a baking dish, and season with salt, and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the tops of the tomatoes, and then drizzle over a little olive oil. Bake the tomatoes until hot and slumping, about 20 minutes.

  5. For the plate: On a nice platter set the piece of lamb, line with the baked tomatoes, creating a glorious feast for the eyes in presentation.

Sparkling and Dessert Wines and Cake

Sparkling and Dessert Wines and Cake
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, February 12, 2011


2006 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Red Label – Hungary, Hegyalja, Tokaji A stone-filled nose, with hints of apricot and wax. The palate was fantastic. Rich with dried apricots, honey and beeswax. (93 Points)

2007 Jorge Ordoñez Málaga Victoria Muscatel – Spain, Andalucía, Málaga Not much going on with the nose. There’s a little tropical fruit and some butterscotch, but not much else. The palate was much better. Candied fruit, butterscotch, and dried pineapples flavors are layered in a rich viscous wine. (91 Points)

NV Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuis 1er Cru – France, Champagne Fresh peach and floral notes on the nose. The honey and citrus underneath rounded a wonderful nose. The palate flavors were in the opposite order. More honey and citrus upfront, with peach on the mid-palate and floral notes and yeast on the finish. (90 Points)

NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier – France, Champagne A nice creamy nose, with baked bread and fresh whipped cream. The fruit behind had citrus and peach, which was followed by floral notes. There was more fruit on the palate than there was on the nose, but it still had that nice creaminess and yeast flavors. (90 Points)

NV A. Margaine Champagne Brut 1er Cru – France, Champagne The first whiff has lots ripe peach and apple aromas, but it slowly adds yeast and bread crusts. The palate has a slight bitterness to it which overpowers the fruit and bread flavors a little. (87 Points)

Greek Salad

Tired of plain old salads? Here’s a quick, easy, and tasty one. I always have homemade vinaigrette on hand so I used that instead of the olive oil and vinegar.

Greek Salad from French Food at Home


  • 1 English cucumber, finely diced
  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, very, very thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 11 ounces /300 g kalamata olives
  • 7 ounces /200 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup /125 ml olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or Jerez vinegar (sherry), plus more to taste
  • Drop balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, onion and pepper. Scatter over the olives, feta, capers, and oregano. Add the olive oil and vinegar and toss the salad well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Taste to check the seasons and add more vinegar, salt, or pepper, as needed. Serve.

Roasted Veal Short Ribs

Here’s a dish that isn’t about the sauce. It calls for demi-glace, but you could use a bouillon cube, if you must. Be sure to keep an on your liquid levels. I ended up using 2 to 3 times more because it boiled off so fast. Plus I may have been a little generous with my basting.

Roasted Veal Short Ribs from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook


  • 4 lbs veal short ribs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 spoonful demi-glace
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 sprig flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. PREP: Coat each rib with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In the small saucepan, bring the wine and vinegar to a boil and whisk in the demi-glace. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  2. COOK: Arrange the onion on the bottom of a roasting pan and pour in the wine-vinegar mixture. Add the garlic and bouquet garni. Place the ribs in the pan, skin side up. Place the pan in a cold oven and crank the heat to 325 degrees F. Let cook, undisturbed, for 1 hour.

  3. After 1 hour, baste or brush the ribs with the pan juices and turn them with the tongs, every 15 minutes, for another hour, basting each time. Increase the heat to 400 degrees F and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the ribs are a lovely, dark brown. Remove from the oven and arrange on the platter. Spoon the pan sauce and onion over the ribs, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Give Your Own Review

Give Your Own Review
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, February 05, 2011


2007 Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Rockpile Road Vineyard – USA, California, Sonoma County, Rockpile The nose is practically all pepper. Actually, it does have some blackberry, cherry, and vanilla, but the pepper is overpowering. The palate is rich and thick, with loads of pepper, like the nose. Underneath was blackberry, raspberry, and cherry. The finish had vanilla and spice. (91 Points)

2007 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon CrossBarn – USA, California, Napa Valley Cigar and espresso on the nose, with dark, black fruit and licorice at the end. Smooth and rich on the palate, there is a nice chalkiness to the tannins. The black currant and cherry fruit come through on the mid-palate, and the minty mocha on the finish. (90 Points)

2008 Roots Run Deep Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Educated Guess – USA, California, Napa Valley A bunch of blueberry covered in milk chocolate on the nose. It is very creamy with hints if mint and cherry underneath. Full and rich in the mouth, the blueberry and cherry fruit really stand out. Chocolate fills out the mid-palate, and the finish is all mint. (89 Points)

2006 Neyers Zinfandel Pato Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County Cherry and damp earth on the nose, with some spice , herbs, and tobacco. Rich and earthy on the palate, the cherry on the mid-palate and the tobacco and strawberry on the finish was good. (89 Points)

2005 Marqués de Riscal Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León – Spain, Castilla y León, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Lots of red fruit on the nose, mixed with subtle hints of cedar and spice. Soft and smooth on the palate, the acidity was nice. It had nice red fruit and a little barnyard. The spice on the mid-palate was followed by a good cedar finish. (88 Points)


2006 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Clos de la Mousse – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru Floral and earthy on the nose, with cherry, herbs, and leather underneath. The palate was like cherry syrup, with leather and herbs on top. The finish was nice and spicy. (90 Points)

2005 Hartwell Vineyards Merlot Estate Grown – USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District The nose is dominated by mocha and coffee. Behind that was plum and cherry, with some spice on the finish. The palate was full of plum, with coffee and espresso underneath. The finish was full of cherry and spice. (89 Points)

Pommes Puree

There are lots of ways to make mashed potatoes. This is my favorite.

Pommes Puree from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook


  • 6 Idaho potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. COOK THE POTATOES: Place the potatoes in the large pot and add enough cold water to completely cover them. Add the 1 tablespoon/14 g of salt and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes cook in the boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.

  2. Drain the potatoes, discarding the hot water, and when they are cool enough to handle – but still hot – slip them from their skins. This might take some effort, and unless you’re a magician, there will probably remain a few tiny bits of skin. Not a big deal. Just discard the skins as best you can and move on.

  3. MAKE THE PUREE: In the small pot, combine the heavy cream and butter and bring the mixture to a boil. (it boils over quickly, so keep an eye on it.)

  4. In the meantime, return the potatoes to the large pot and mash them with the potato masher. Once the cream mixture has come to a boil, pour it in increments into the potatoes and mix well. Add cream. Mash. Add cream. Mix. Do not overwork the potatoes. When the mixture is creamy and smooth, season with salt and pepper and serve.


There are a lot of chefs in this country who are getting a lot of mileage from “Truffle Mashed Potatoes.” Now, fresh truffles are very expensive, and I doubt you’ll want to use them for something as simple as mashed potatoes. But don’t worry. Most of these chefs aren’t using fresh stuff either. Simply make the recipe above, drop a teaspoon of the relatively inexpensive canned “black truffle peelings” into the mix, then jack it with a few drops of white truffle oil.

Chive mashed potatoes? Sure! Simply drop a bunch of chives into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Immediately cool in ice water to retain the bright green color. Chop roughly, then puree in a blender with a little oil to moisten. Push through a fine strainer, then fold the result into your potatoes, along with some fresh chopped chives.

Roasted pepper mashed potatoes? Roast red peppers. Peel off the skins. Remove seeds and stem. Puree. Mix with spuds.

Filet of Beef, Sauce Porto with Roasted Shallots

Here’s another steak recipe that’s all about the sauce. As always, this requires good, homemade veal stock and demi-glace. If you don’t have these, make something else.

Filet of Beef, Sauce Porto with Roasted Shallots from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook


  • 12 shallots, peeled whole
  • 1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 8-ounce beef filets
  • salt and freshly cracked peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 3 ounces port
  • 1 cup strong dark veal stock, (again, a tiny spoon of demi-glace would really boost this sauce)


  1. PREP: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F/170 degrees C. Place the peeled whole shallots in the small ovenproof saute pan, throw in 2 tablespoons/28 g of the butter, cover with foil, and put in the oven. Cook low and slow, gently turning the shallots every once in a while, until they are brown and soft and slightly limp, but still recognizable and intact – about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove and keep warm.

  2. COOK: Jack the oven up to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the large saute pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon/14 g of the butter, let it foam, and allow it to subside. Sear the meat on all sides, using the tongs to turn the filets. Make sure the sides are seared, too. Transfer the meat to the roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast for about 7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare.

  3. Discard the fat from the large saute pan and add 1 tablespoon/14 g of the butter. Heat over medium flame and, when hot, add the sliced shallot. Cook for 4 minutes, sprinkle in the flour, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the port and deglaze, scraping with the wooden spoon. Reduce the wine by half, then add the stock (and your demi-glace, I hope), bring to a boil, and reduce by half again, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Adjust the seasoning and strain through the fine strainer into a small saucepan. Bring the sauce back to a boil, remove from the heat, and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter.

  4. SERVE: Remove the filets from the oven, rest them a few moments, and arrange on the platter. Artfully nestle 3 of the cooked whole shallots next to each filet and spoon over the sauce. Good with mashed potatoes.