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….