We shared a fabulous evening with friends at our home for dinner.  Mikey and Sandra brought a great bottle to share:  2004 Clos du Val Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  This deep garnet colored wine with flavors of dark berries, baking spices and a hint of vanilla was a real treat!  Clos du Val’s 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the California wines in the infamous Judgment of Paris tasting which took place in 1976.   At this blind tasting event French wine critics judged California Cabernet Sauvignons and French Bordeaux.   They also rated California Chardonnays versus French Burgundies.  In each category the California wineries trounced their French competition – all the while the critics made comments about their favorite wines thinking that they were French.  The critics were surprised – and so was the wine world.  This tasting is credited with putting California wine on the map.  There is a really enthralling book about this tasting – and about some of the winemakers in California in the 1970’s called Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine.  These maverick winemakers are pretty fascinating – I highly recommend this book – it’s a great read!  Over the course of this wonderful evening, we opened a number of wonderful bottles.  Our first was the 2006 Vixen Viognier (only 134 cases made – by second generation winemaker Jennifer Gehrs, daughter of Daniel Gehrs).  We also had a library release from Consilience, the 2002 Star Lane Syrah (black cherry, white pepper flavors with a velvety mouthfeel), the 2006 Brochelle Reserve Syrah (plum, dark berries, caramel and spice), and we ended the evening with a bottle of the 2005 Tablas Creek Vin de Paille Sacrerouge (gorgeous dessert wine 100% Mourvedre – flavors of black cherries, chocolate, dates and figs).  Dinner at home with friends