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I picked up some Swiss Chard as part of the Paleo ingredients for tonights dinner.  Moxie warned me that it would be bitter which gave me pause to think of a good pairing.  Turns out she was incorrect- the Chard was superb, crunchy, full flavored as well as balanced.  I de-stemmed the leafs, washed the bright red stalks and rinsed the rich green leaves.  Sauteing the thicker stalks and garlic in some European butter, I added the leafy parts right before serving.  It was a great new revelation in our quest for new foods to eat following the caveman diet.

Back to the wine….  I absolutely love the ’96 Burgess and think it is a well developed Cabernet that shows great evolution and firm structure.  I have built up a few bottles of various vintages, hoping for replicas.  Having tasted this particular vintage about two years ago, I was somewhat disappointed with its development and banished the remaining bottles  to the cellar.

With tonight’s menu, I felt I needed a fruity yet somewhat mature Cabernet to do battle with the potential bitterness awaiting us in the sauté pan.  I picked the Burgess as I felt it would fit the profile.  It worked, but it need not have bothered- as I mentioned the Chard was great and did not reflect the anticipated dryness.  The wine however showed great length and purity.  A young purple color in the glass followed by a gorgeous plum and black fruit nose gave way to a smooth tasting Cali Cab.  Dark fruits and cedar mixed with some leather and funk.  Seriously smooth tannins caress and the whole thing is on tip-toe, balanced impeccably.  I truly wonder how great this wine could be if given another 5 years, i’m guessing it will evolve like it’s big brother the 1996.  I am super stoked that I opened this wine and uncorked a monster in the bottle.   It is refined, yet powerful, fruity but svelte, satisfying and alluring.  I dig this wine.  I used to be so anti-Napa, but Burgess really opened my eyes (palate).  I have come to appreciate the longevity, finesse, fruitiness as well as the evolution of the better wineries.  For $55, you can still find this wine out there.  Not a bargain, it will reward you for many years to come as it is just starting its way towards the secondary life of tertiary flavors.  5 stars because I reckon this is a 91 point effort. Salut….

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