TNs: CA Cabs- Araujo, Mondavi, Ridge, Heitz Marthas, BV, Mt. Veeder, Phelps, Oakville
Our lunch group met recently to share some fine food and Cabernet from California, 1990 and older:
1978 BEAULIEU VINEYARD RUTHERFORD- telltale aging at the outset with browning color and a pruny nose; there`s some fruit, but not much to grab on to; over the hill on this one.
1971 OAKVILLE- 12%; a treat; still very viable with good fruitiness, a touch of spice; very tasty and enjoyable throughout; a pleasant and welcomed surprise; pretty much unanimously liked.
1978 VEEDERCREST STELTZNER VINEYARD- 22% Merlot from the Hazen Vineyard; I was already to enjoy this after reading the label only to find it was corked; at least we got one really good wine out of 3 on the first flight of older Cabs.
1978 HEITZ MARTHA`S- showing some age in the color, but that`s where it ended; good fruit flavors accentuated by some mint and cedar; it got better and better in the glass and ended up being my #2 WOTD; encouraging to find another aged bottle of joy.
1978 HEITZ FAY VINEYARD- 13%; browning color, metallic, weird nose; maple syrup taste and texture; how about some more Martha`s?; this might go perfect on pancakes.
1980 SANFORD & BENEDICT SANTA YNEZ VALLEY SANTA BARABARA COUNTY- 12%; the nose was so horrible, I did not want to venture on and didn`t.
1978 LOUIS MARITINI TEPESQUET VINEYARD SANTA MARIA SANTA BARBARA COUNTY “VINEYARD SELECTION”- bell peppers in the nose, some OK fruit in the mid palate dissipating quickly with an abrupt finish; we got another winner out of 4 in this geriatric flight.
1985 HEITZ MARTHA`S- decent; some red fruit notes with a soft mouthfeel; I much prefer the 78` of this Matha`s.
1985 MONDAVI RESERVE- the nose is inviting and intriguing enough to encourage moving into the wine and to my delight, it was really good; everything was in a light weight mode including the fruit that was enhanced by some spice and cinnamon notes; I liked its softness that really pleases the palate; it`s a nice, steady, even wine with a lot of elegance and finesse; #3 WOTD.
1986 JOSEPH PHELPS BACKUS VINEYARD- yes, Backus is spelled correctly; unfortunately, the wine was not correct; the nose was weird, metallic, off, VA.
1986 DIAMOND CREEK GRAVELLY MEADOWS- I could never quite grasp where this wine was, had been or was going; overall, it seemed OK, but every aspect was different from anything I could ever describe or apply to Cabernet.
1990 MOUNT VEEDER WINERY RESERVE- blend of Cabernet, Cabernet franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, this shined above and beyond all before it and after it as well; great red/ black fruit profile; beautifully integrated and nicely balanced, this was class in the bottle and the only question is, is this as good as it`s going to get?; I`ve had it since release and in the past few years it seems to be holding steady in a stellar state; #1 WOTD.
1991 ARAUJO EISELE- another winner, this is showing really well now; for the first year of Araujo`s wines, this consistently amazes as most my friends relate to later on efforts that were at the top echelon for this producer like the 94`, 97` and others; the black and blue fruit was ripe and forward and the texture was silky smooth; in the mix for top 3 WOTD.
1990 RIDGE MONTE BELLO SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS- this seemed way to young to enjoy now; it`s definitely full bodied and vibrant with promises to evolve into something better than where it is now with its firm tannins; it`s just in a closed, tight stage that may take some time to move out of; I`d age this for 8-10+ more years.
1987 LA JOTA VINEYARD HOWELL MOUNTAIN- here, we ran out of the string of good wines in a row; major VA and other off compounds abound.
All in all, an Interesting assortment of wines from 1971 – 1990 with varying degrees of joy and pleasure.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".