After the appetizers, we had The Caller and his wife move into the dining room which was also renovated since they had been here last. It was fun, because he was looking at the room and trying to remember the color scheme and the décor and some aspects of the change, he missed, but that is understandable. I mean, we do get together for wining and dining and not for studies of architecture and design. I worked hard, but then so did my Bride and she made another fine dinner. She started off with her famous Caesar Salad that she learned when we were on our honeymoon and it has been a hit here, ever since, but we do not do tableside service. She made Brussels Sprouts with bacon, Armenian Pilaf, Coquilles St. Jacques al crème de Xeres (Sea Scallops sautéed with mushrooms and garlic, pan-sauced with Sherry and cream) and Roasted Lamb Chops marinated with garlic and rosemary. For dessert, Mrs. Caller made a very light cake of lemons and peaches with a whipped Citrus Icing, which was both light and rich.
We started with EL Ixsir Cuvee X’eme Anniversaire Red Non-Vintage. It came in a custom box and was number sixteen of an issue of one-thousand, and the box held three bottles of this special edition wine as well as a beautiful “coffee-table” book The Wines of Ixsir. Ixsir Winery was founded in 2009 in the northern part of Lebanon in Batroun which is a coastal area. They are a mountain winery, and one of the highest in elevation for the Northern Hemisphere. The name Ixsir derives from the Arabic word “Iksir” the original Arabic word for “elixir.” History has recorded that man has searched for the perfect elixir for eternal youth and for love. The winery is very progressive and has been named one of the greenest buildings in the world. The winery owns one-hundred-twenty hectares in the Batroun with several different vineyards capitalizing on the terroir. The winery grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Caladoc, Cinsault, Merlot, Obeidy, Viognier, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon. Quite impressive for a young company, as far as I am concerned. The EL Ixsir Cuvee X’eme Anniversaire Red Non-Vintage is a special bottling of three very recent vintages of their EL, which is their top cuvee and a blend of fifty-five percent Syrah, thirty-five percent Cabernet Sauvignon and ten percent Merlot. Each of the wines had aged for twenty-four months and then had been blended and aged in French Oak, of which half were new barrels. The concept of having the three bottles in the case was that the first bottle should be tasted in five years, and then at least ten years for the second bottle and the last should be held even longer. As a reference point, this wine was issued 30 April 2019 and the Wine Advocate awarded it a score of 93 Points and a suggest “Drink Date” of 2022-2040. When we tasted the wine, we were told that the 2014 vintage which was the real powerhouse of EL was leading this wine and it was big and inky and really overpowering; it was way too young and feisty to be properly enjoyed and there was real merit in cellaring this wine. Since 2022 was the first year to try this wine properly from notes from the winemaker, I was impatient, especially since this was a Christmas present from my Bride. The wine was a deep purple-red with note of red fruits and a touch of incense. On the palate was red and black fruits, almost like a liqueur with tinges of mint and cedar, and a nice long finish of limestone terroir. It was big and totally awesome, better than from the tasting that made my Bride buy it for me.
I decided to get another wine from the cellar and I decided to continue the theme of a non-vintage wine. We then had the Roberts + Rogers “Napa 5” Cabernet Sauvignon NV. The wine came from five different vineyards, all from the rockiest part of the Louer Vineyard. It is non-Vintage, as it is blended from a couple of vintages and very proprietary for a Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Hand harvested from the loamy terrain, the wine was aged for a total of eighteen months in French Oak and the initial release was June 2018. There were three hundred cases produced and all were done with a screw cap. This was a beautiful red, fruit forward with plenty of deep red fruit and a surprisingly long finish with a lot of terroirs. They felt that a screw cap was the perfect way to offer this casual wine that could be drank immediately or it could be cellared. The rave reviews for these two wines from the other tasters, was enough to make sure that our order was filled with these two for sure, somehow, we can always squeeze some more room for a couple more cases of wine. This deep colored wine offered notes of black cherries and red fruits, and on the palate, it was a big jammy Napa Cabernet that didn’t miss a beat and had a nice long finish of terroir. It was a crowd pleaser.