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Old 21-04-2021, 07:07 PM posted to
Mark Lipton[_2_] Mark Lipton[_2_] is offline
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Default TN: Return to group tasting-s 84/85 Cal Cab, plus bubbles and Bdxblanc

On 4/21/21 1:23 PM, wrote:
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.

What a fascinating theme for a tasting! The two vintages you chose are
a study in contrasts: '84 was a classic hot, ripe year, much ballyhooed
by the press. '85 was a cooler year, much more structured and largely
dismissed at the time of release.

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-

I'm not terribly surprised by these. I think that I even had a bottle
of the '85 Sequoia Grove, but it's long since been consumed.

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+

That had to be close to the first vintage for Niebaum Coppola, no? And
great note on that Dunn. I believe that I had a bottle of that, too,
consumed with dinner at the Columbia City Hotel Restaurant in Columbia,
CA (run by students at the local community college) probably in '91 or
'92. You can only imagine what the Howell Mountain must be like!

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 loved those Phelps wines from the '80s and early '90s.

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-

This makes me realize that we don't drink enough white Bordeaux.

Thanks for these notes, Dale! They brought back some great memories.
Mark Lipton