Our Dead Guys Wine Society guest speaker this month is known for his instructional/organizational skill on the Gridiron, but that is not the end of his talents. Many celebrities in various fields have gotten the “Wine Bug” & either started their own winery or acquired a financial interest in one. This is not the case with Dick Vermeil, born and raised in Calistoga (How lucky was he!), he helped work the vineyards his grandfather had on the family property as a boy so his passion for all things wine started at a young age.
Vermeil Wines is a joint venture between the Vermeil & Frediani families. The Frediani vineyards were originally part of Garibaldi Iaccheri’s property, Dick’s great-grandfather. Paul Smith, the winemaker and part of the Frediani family is a Napa wine industry veteran holding positions with both Joseph Phelps and Opus One.
The portfolio, all from the Frediani vineyards, consists of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Charbono, Old Vine Zinfandel, Nonna Frediani Rosedale Red, & XXXIV Proprietary Red, the last, a tip of the helmet to his January 2000 Super Bowl victory.
Our theme for the night was Cabernet Franc and there were no fewer than 28 different wines to taste. Do you like smooth perfume laced reds, then seek out a good California Cab Franc or a lovely Chinon from France, and if you really want to treat yourself go with the holy grail of Cabernet Franc, Cheval Blanc, the exquisite Bordeaux from Saint- Emilion.
Attendees for the event included locally based wine celebrities Marnie Old, wine list consultant for some of the country’s best restaurants & Mark Squires eRobert Parker administrator/writer, Orthopaedic surgeon to the stars Art Bartolozzi made a rare DGWS appearance, of course there is your humble East Coast WineLog Ambassador, along with our never miss core members.
Enough hyperbole let’s get to some highlights:
Vermeil Cabernet Franc 2005: $45 This guy knows how to coach the best out of this grape, Plum fruit, Swiss Miss hot chocolate powder, mint, with approachable tannins, & nice acidity.
Vermeil XXXIV Proprietary Red: $42 A Blend of Cabernet Franc & Zinfandel, nice Eucalyptus notes with chocolate, spice, black plum, and a little Jam round out this unique wine.
Rubicon Cabernet Franc 2006: $52 Never knew Francis-Ford Coppola’s Flagship had a Cab Franc in addition to the proprietary red and white blends. As fan of oak I did like the toasted vanilla along with the gobs of fruit in this sleek and stylish beauty.
Keenan Cabernet Franc 2005: $58 Lots of dark berry, with lilac,& a hint of Eucalyptus, a very balanced and easy drinking example, well done!
Pride Cabernet Franc 2005: $60 Nice fruit, vanilla, a little graphite and green pepper, shows it’s addition of Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot.
Larkin Cabernet Franc 2000: $45 Earthy with a nice stinky nose, smooth with ample fruit for its age, a favorite.
Charles Joguet Chinon Clos du Chene Vert 2003: $30 Old world old school here! Rawhide, subtle but spicy fruit, integrated tannins. Really liked this.
Lang & Reed Premier Etage Cabernet Franc 2003: $40 Loads of Licorice stand beside herb du Provence & plump raisins.
Chateau Barde Haut Saint- Emilion 2000: $50 Great earthy stinky nose, not a lot of fruit but nice tannins & acidity, awesome food wine.
Beaucanon L’ Cuvee Cabernet Franc 2005: $25 One nice little bottle of wine, with chocolate, green tea, blackberries, vanilla, & smooth tannins make this a fun wine for the price.
Now you know there were some wringers, it would not be a Dead Guys Wine Society drinking if there were not.
Chateau Cheval-Blanc St Emilion 1996: $250 Smooth as a baby’s butt tannins allowed the pencil shavings, dried herbs and subtle dark fruit to make you smile.
Chateau Cheval-Blanc St Emilion 1975 $240 Old Bordeaux at its finest Dried fruit, old wood, perceptible tannins, Medium long finish does not disappoint, wanted to grab the decanter and run out the door, but I knew there was more in store.
Croft Vintage Port 1991: $60 “Big Ass” Port, gobs & gobs of fruit, did I say it was a “Big Ass” Port? Great price!
Warre Vintage Port 1963: $120 Hands down my favorite Port producer the ’63 is a medley of Boysenberries, cherry, & a little earthiness (I mean sediment), the finish ending at some point the next day.
D’Oliverira Sercial Madeira 1937: $245 Every time I drink one of these bad boys it amazes me the absolute drinkability and age worthiness of old Madeira, so Tawny Port like (i.e. nutty) but with a lot more oomph in the flavor palette and a finish that goes on and on.
Thanks to Scot Ziskind and Guest speaker Dick Vermeil, we once again have a night to remember!