TN: Return to group tasting-s 84/85 Cal Cab, plus bubbles and Bdx blanc
A real wine tasting, with real people! 7 vaccinated winegeeks gathered on my patio Sunday. Cathleen brought great cheese, Craig brought an incredible spread of charcuterie, and I made a smoked bluefish mousse to go with the Champagnes, but forgot to unwrap it. The tasting was 1984 & 1985 California Cabs and blends. All reds double-decanted before transport.
We started with the 2008 Gaston Chiquet Special Club Brut Champagne I quite enjoyed this, vibrant and young, white fruits, chalk, and sourdough. Happy to be part of this club. B+/A-
1985 Buena Vista Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Weedy, seedy, I dont think this is so much tired as never very good. C+/C
1985 BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
I think I drank quite a few of the Rutherfords in the 90s as they were released, but always young. This offers no evidence that was a mistake, tart and short. C+
1984 BV Georges de la Tour Cabernet Sauvignon
This had a roasted pruney note to it, I really didnt enjoy, could be storage but while I used to regard GdlT as an icon of Cal Cab, Ive had a lot of poor bottles over last couple decades. C+
1985 Sequoia Grove Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Finally a red I really liked. Mature but not tired. Soft black fruit, tobacco, and cedar, with a hint of minty green. B+
1985 Lyeth Red Blend (Alexander Valley)
I think I liked this more than most. Tannins gone, some acid, red and black fruit with a little bell pepper and forest floor. B/B+
1984 Flora Springs Trilogy (Napa Valley)
Full and fruity, I thought some signs of overripeness. Others liked more B-
A Champagne break while I grilled some hanger steak in a ssam marinade and sausages (Weisswurst, Andouille) to go with some previously grilled peppers and squash, and Johns delicious couscous.
1996 Pol Roger Blanc de Chardonnay Brut Millesime
I thought this was just stunning. Powerful, mineral, smoky, long. A/A-
Back to reds
1985 Niebaum Coppola €śRubicon€ť
Dont cross this Rubicon, because then you cant untaste it.. Green bell pepper mixed with roasted/pruney notes, thats not easy. Lets just say FFC is a great filmmaker. C+
1985 Newton Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Surprise of the night probably. A bit delicate, but with lovely dark fruit, cigar box, green herbs. B+/B
1985 Dunn Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
OK, coming up on 40, still structured and tannic. But with the hanger steak I quite enjoyed. Chewy tannins, black plum and black currant, ferric notes, long finish. Eat with steak or wait forever. B+
1985 Kathryn Kennedy Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains
This was 13.7 abv (I think highest), and quite ripe, but I thought it freshened up with air and I quite liked by end.B.
1984 Beringer Chabot Cabernet Sauvignon
Still comes across as oaky,. Modest fruit, clipped finish. B-/C+
1984 Beringer €śPrivate Reserve€ť Cabernet Sauvignon
Vanilla, ripe black plum verging on surmaturite, B/B-
1984 Monticello €śCorley Reserve€ť Cabernet Sauvignon
I know I tasted this, but wrote nothing down.Dont think I was a fan.
1985 Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (mag)
Dont normally open mags for these tastings, but this fit Zoom plan for Monday so I decanted and immediately bottled 5 5 oz bottles. Rest served a few hours later. Really needs the air in this format, big young wine, but rather lovely. Cassis, blackberry, truffles, coffee, spice. Long and complex. Wonderful showing. A-
I cant let people leave my house without something blind, didnt feel like dessert, didnt want more red. So put 1990 Laville Haut Brion into a decanter. One errant guess of Loire, then they got white Bordeaux and soon LHB (though guesses were younger than 1990). Wax, peach and mango, vanilla, excellent length. B+/A-
When cleaning up I found a bottle pf 1985 Ch. Potelle Reserve that someone had brought but not passed. Tried next day, dead, but not a fair test.
Really wonderful to have people, in person, tasting wine and enjoying each others company.
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C
drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice.Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.