Thursday, June 10, 2010

Husic Vineyards Napa Cabernet: A Vertical Lunch

I know. I know.  This is beginning to look and sound like Shark Week on Discovery Channel.  I did not intend for it to become Husic Week on the blog but so much happened in such a short time.  And it was so goood. 

Prior to our tour of the wine cellar (see previous post), Frank had opened two bottles of Husic Cabernet so that they could breathe before we went to lunch.  He now opened a third.  So we were going to be having '01, '02, and '03 Husic Cabernet Sauvignons for lunch; wines which are no longer available from the winery, except in magnums.  Frank replaced the corks lightly into the bottles, placed the bottles into a wine bag, and we were on our way to lunch.  We travelled in separate cars as Frank had to go back to San Francisco after lunch.  Parlo, being the only passenger, was entrusted with the wine bag and the job of ensuring no spillage as we wound our way down the hillside. 

Lunch was at Bistro Don Giovanni at 410 Howard Lane in Napa.  We pulled in (ample parking) and headed to the terrace as it was a day well suited to outside dining.  The restaurant, according to Frank, has some of the best Trattoria-style food in Napa.  The restaurant has traditional inside dining and eastern and northern terraces, each with its own character and characteristics, for outside dining.

Frank opted for the northern terrace which, in addition to a spectacular view of the surrounding hills, had a view of the fountain and characters in the picture above (I later found out that these were depictions of characters from "Commedia del Artre," a professional form of theatre that began in Italy in the mid-16th century.).

We began by ordering a Fritto Misto (Calamari, Rock Shrimp, Fennel, Onions, Green Beans, Spicy Aioli) and an Antipasti.  Frank wanted a white to accompany the starter so he ordered a bottle of Husic Chardonnay ("I don't eat where they don't serve my wines," he said).  The starters were exceptional and went very well with the wine.

While we were having our starters, Frank instructed our server to bring nine additional glasses to the table and to begin pouring from left to right, beginning with the '01 at the left.  The wines all had excellent color in the glasses and it was all I could do to restrain myself until the "appropriate" time.

For the main courses, Frank had Lamb Meatballs, I had a Risotto ai Funghi, and Parlo had a seared Filet of Salmon.  My meal was excellent and, if the sounds of contentment that I heard escaping from my tablemates were any indication, so was theirs.  We tasted the '01 first and I heard Frank say "This does not taste like a Napa Cab."  He was right.  This wine was all leather and graphite.  The fruit had receeded completely into the overall framework of the wine.  This was a left-bank Bordeaux in disguise.  Frank had the happy, contented look of a master magician who had "done it again."

We went to the '02 next and it had almost a split personality with all of the characteristics of the '01 very evident but wrapped in a more prominent display of fruit and evidence of acidity.  Good round mouthfeel.  The '03 was fruit-dominant and spicy, also with a great round mouthfeel.  Very approachable to the discerning drinker.

These wines are evolving rapidly in the bottle and if they are predictors of what the '05, '06, and '07 will be like in a few years, I am happy with the purchases I have made to date.


  1. So tell me... after the Vertical Lunch, did you have a "horizontal afternoon???"

  2. HlyTerroir, you are alive. In direct response to you question, you know me better than that.

  3. That is "your" as replacement for the second you in my response