Well, my dinner party expanded by two on Friday night, so instead of the '91 Sterling, I chose to pop a couple of bottles of '87 Lyeth Meritage. Chip Lyeth died in an aviation accident in 1988, and Lyeth's quality has suffered considerably since then, but since these bottles had been produced under Chip Lyeth's reign, I had high hopes.
All that I can say is that my hopes were exceeded by the quality of this wine. I've consumed a lot of vintage Bordeaux, and the Lyeth was comparable to the better Bordeaux's that I've had. Bright cherry, tobacco, and herbal notes on the palate matched with our food tremendously. The wine's tannins had mellowed considerably (I've got a lot of experience with Lyeth and usually find their Meritage unapproachably tannic when released) and the wine opened up very quickly once uncorked and threw almost no sediment in 20 years. I was happily surprised that it turned out so well.
I'm thinking about making a sweet vermouth. I'm not sure where to get a recipe, but I should be able to at least find a starting place soon. I'm thinking about using Zinfandel as a base, as I like its structure and ability to match well with so many flavors.
At 1pm today, I'm attending Galaxy Wines big tasting. Its great, they are actually having it at the office building where I work my day job. Nothing like finishing the day off after a little wine tasting. I'm also supposed to hit the Glenlivet dinner at Ten-0-One, but scheduling issues may prevent that. I'll just have to see.