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CLONYC 40 The Wines of Congruence

Last night’s CLONYC brings the grand total of post millennial phenomenon called clonycmania to 40. I am thankful to have been part of this group. Last night I half-heartedly mentioned that I could not believe we are at 40 as I have never done anything beyond the daily mundane dalliances--- forty times, or more!
Forty went down in the books with a focused tasting on long time member Steve Eisenhauer and his Congruence wines. On this night nine happy souls converged to sample Steve’s wares. A big thanks to Steve for bringing these wines for us all to sample. Steve is a very driven and passionate guy who makes wines he wants to drink. Steve also have a well-focused and intelligent palate. That combo works.
We started the night off with a 2010 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie which I did not note on. Thanks to Lance for bringing it along.

2012 Congruence Sauvignon Blanc Las Cerezas Vineyard - The nose takes some coaxing. This is a well balances SB that shows a certain steeliness running through it; A very restrainted style of wine that hid some green melons and lemon grass, I wish it had just a hint more fruit up front. All neutral oak used and it shows well on the finish. A great effort none the less and one that would work well with some light appetizers. 90

2011 Congruence Pinot Noir Sebastiano Vineyard –A soft styled Pinot with some pretty florals up front. As it sits in the glass I get some cherries, strawberries, frangipani and an awesome silkiness. Balance in spot on and finish long and true. With Steve being a Red Burgundy drinker I can see how this works well in his stable of wines. Time in the glass shows a more red-fruit and generous style. An interesting well made wine for sure. 91

2009 Congruence Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley – I hope not to lose Steve’s friendship over this one. :) It comes right out of the gate somewhat grapey, one dimensional and unbalanced. It did not seem anything at all like the bottle I had 20 months ago. Not sure what to make of this one. Maybe in an awkward stage?

2011 Congruence Zinfandel Grist Vineyard- This one has some great depth and verve with the emphasis on the red/black fruits. Good balance with an nice edgy tannic structure and a wee-bit of spice deep within. Well rounded and well crafted, this shows it’s breed well. I don’t pretend to claim Zin as a favorite of mine but I do see the interest this one holds, and Zin's not just for pizza anymore. 91

2007 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon- I have always liked this one and tonight’s showing is no different. I like the red fruit style with the hint of cardamom and soft mid-core. It has never been a bruiser and always remained more elegant in approach. Tonight it shows redder fruits with cherries and red plums taking a lead. Some notes of worn leather and graphite can be coaxed out of it. Balance is nice on this as well. While not a door smasher, this is a light 'knocker'. 91

2008 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon- This wine has journeyed across the spectrum since I first tasted the barrel samples years back. It has a bright nose of black fruits with black currant and blackberries in control. It is a bit randy in it’s approach, and always have been on the playful boisterous side of the Cabisphere; tonight the nose is the big bright black fruits and the palate shows a hi-toned acidity that elevates it a notch above anything else on the table. Hints of sassafras and cola revolve within the whirlwind and fury. Food settles her a bit. Finish is clean and consistent. An interesting wine that always delivers. 92

2009 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon- My favorite of the trio. Deep dark and elegant with a pretty and fragrant nose that shows some cassis, cola and blackberries. Hints of rubbed leather and a touch of lead pencil bring great interest and appeal. Wonderful creamy texture with nice balance; tannins remain bold and finish goes long with dark fruits. The better behaved child when compared to a slight slacker and a trouble maker. 93

My WOTF was the 2009. there was one other vote for the 2009. 7 for the 2008.

6 liked the 2009 in the second position as well as two more for the 2008. The 2007 had 1 second place vote.

2010 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon- probably one of the best wines Steve has produced and I can see him cringe as I say so; it’s not because he doesn’t agree mind you, it’s just he has a reserve bottling this year that will and should put this in the back-seat in about 6-8 years. Who knows where this will be then, but where it is now is bold and densely structured with tons of things coming at you, the cornucopia (if you will) of Cab. Fat and abundant, this is spot on in its balance and heft; not too much and certainly well above ‘too little’, this pleases all the senses and even has a go at that elusive Umami thing. It’s a wine that makes me smile and when you realize its price-point of 50ish dollars, you will agree. I have always wanted Steve to produce and entry level Cab (that’s wasn’t a ZIN!) and he has over-delivered. Don’t be shy, call him and get this one for the weekend. I will be fielding the thank you emails starting Monday morning…. 94

2010 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- 100% CS. More reserved and in check that it’s younger sibling above, this seems to have it all packed away. It also seems a bit more controlled and collected in a way that will make those who yearn for those ‘Cab of Old’. This has quieted down since I last sampled it. Today it’s black currant driven with a reticent tannin base and acidity that glues it all tight. Floral hints and cola reside in here too. I would love to see where this goes in those half dozen years I mentioned above. 93

The 2010 Napa had 5 first place votes. Nicely split as Steve knew it would be.

2011 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon- Nose of quiet black fruits with a touch of bell pepper and dried herb. I may lose a friend here: I find this one slightly less appealing style wise than it’s 2010 stable-mate, the 2010 Napa Cab. Palate shows some good black fruits and structure is well defined and nicely balanced and it certainly seems a well made wine, but the greenness thing makes me sit up and take note. It would be interesting to see if this fleshes out as it’s released and I certainly will look forward to the invite to the release party, if Steve does not remove me from his list……

2011 Congruence Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve- Now we are talking, this is dark and densely packed with wonderful black and red fruits of currant, cherry and ripe black raspberry. Hefty and fleshy, this has none of the green qualities of its sibling. As it sits it unwinds and moves into something reminiscent of the 2009 with some of the vibrancy of the 2008. Nice purity and verve make this grab your attention and some quiet elegance keeps it. Finish is long and consistent. One to watch out for. 92
Methinks these two wines, and especially the Napa may have been suffering a bit of travel shock as they were just over-nighted from the left coast this morning.

The Reserve had 8 first place votes for WOTF. 1 guest liked the Napa. The ‘unscientific’ vote for WOTN (where-as I do not look back on the previous votes) stood at 4 for the 2010 Napa Cab, 4 for the 2008 Napa Cab and 1 for the 2010 Reserve Cab.

It was a fun night and the wines showed very well. The food as usual was spot on and the company well above average.

Thanks to all who were part. It’s not really an easy job when one scores wines made by friends.
Please note: I try to stay true to myself and yet always fair to the wine and all involved. Sometimes I corner myself a bit and quickly realize that if I don’t keep it real, I seize to be. A tough job but someone’s ‘gotta’ do it. :)