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Old 28-06-2004, 12:48 AM
Cwdjrx _
 
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Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays

These are Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnays from the Mount Eden Estate.
This property has a very complicated history of owners and winemakers,
and a least part of it was planted by Martin Ray before he lost it in
legal battles.

There can be extreme variations in many Santa Cruz Mountain wines from
year to year. When everything is right, Mount Eden can produce one of
the top Chardonnys of California. Other years produced somewhat
unbalanced, overpriced wines.

The 1989 is now rather full golden. It has considerable fruit still, but
too much oak is showing through and it is a bit flat and heavy. It was
better a few years ago, but not one of Mount Eden's better efforts.

On the other hand, the 1990 is one of the best California Chardonnays I
have had in a long time. It is still quite fresh and probably will hold
well for several more years. It is a rather light lemon color. There is
refined fruit with hints of white peaches and apricots. There is enough
acid, not too much oak, and everything is in perfect balance. It is as
close to a top Puligny Montrachet as I have seen from California. It is
a pity that Mount Eden can not make a wine such as this most of the
time.

Mount Eden and Au Bon Climat are among the very few California firms
that can produce a Chardonnay that can improve for over 10 years. I have
found Au Bon Climat to be considerably more consistent in their reserve
Chardonnays. However, when conditions are right, Mount Eden can produce
a wine as good or better than Au Bon Climat, in a different sort of way.
I find a top Mount Eden to be more Puligny-Montrachet-like, while a top
Au Bon Climat tends to be more Corton-Charlemagne-like, with more
mineral character. Both often need several years of age and may not show
well when tasted young if you do not know how these wines can develop.

My mailbox is always full to avoid spam. To contact me, erase
from my email address. Then add . I do not
check this box every day, so post if you need a quick response.


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Old 28-06-2004, 02:14 AM
Tom S
 
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Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays


"Cwdjrx _" wrote in message
...

Mount Eden and Au Bon Climat are among the very few California firms
that can produce a Chardonnay that can improve for over 10 years.


A few years ago I tasted a Raymond Chardonnay that had to be a decade older
than the two Mount Eden wines you mentioned. It was still solidly at
plateau, and gave no hint that it was well over 20 years old. Obviously it
had been well cellared, but even so it was pretty old for a dry white wine.

I'm sorry I don't remember the exact vintage, but that wine showed me that
at least _some_ California whites are capable of extended aging.

Tom S


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Old 28-06-2004, 04:18 AM
Bill
 
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Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays

Tom S wrote:

A few years ago I tasted a Raymond Chardonnay that had to be a decade older
than the two Mount Eden wines you mentioned. It was still solidly at
plateau, and gave no hint that it was well over 20 years old. Obviously it
had been well cellared, but even so it was pretty old for a dry white wine.

I'm sorry I don't remember the exact vintage, but that wine showed me that
at least _some_ California whites are capable of extended aging.


Raymond California Chardonnay in the late 70s and early 80s was very
popular. It was a California blend and they must have gotten it right,
sorta like Kendall Jackson did a few years later. I see no reason in
the world why it would age well since it was never meant to be much
right from the start.

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Old 28-06-2004, 01:46 PM
Marc Branch
 
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Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays

Another Cal Chard that can age very well is Chalone. Two years ago I
had the 1980, and it was gorgeous, having evolved a honeyed richness
that was quite delicious. Last week, had the 1996. Still very
lively and youthful.

Cheers,
Marc




"Tom S" wrote in message .com...
"Cwdjrx _" wrote in message
...

Mount Eden and Au Bon Climat are among the very few California firms
that can produce a Chardonnay that can improve for over 10 years.


A few years ago I tasted a Raymond Chardonnay that had to be a decade older
than the two Mount Eden wines you mentioned. It was still solidly at
plateau, and gave no hint that it was well over 20 years old. Obviously it
had been well cellared, but even so it was pretty old for a dry white wine.

I'm sorry I don't remember the exact vintage, but that wine showed me that
at least _some_ California whites are capable of extended aging.

Tom S

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Old 29-06-2004, 12:24 AM
Cwdjrx _
 
Posts: n/a
Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays

Tom mentioned a Raymond Chardonnay. I think I may have tasted a Raymond
Chardonnay or two many years ago, but I never tasted one that had been
aged for an extended time.

Raymond did make one very unusual wine.It was Napa Valley Late Harvest
Riesling 1978. It had 25% residual sugar. I liked some of the late
harvest Rieslings from Ch. St Jean and Joseph Phelps from this era, and
early on liked them better than the mentioned Raymond. Since I still
have 2 half-bottles of the Raymond, I will have to check it sometime to
see how it has held up.

My mailbox is always full to avoid spam. To contact me, erase
from my email address. Then add . I do not
check this box every day, so post if you need a quick response.



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Old 29-06-2004, 02:29 AM
RobertsonChai
 
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Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays

Bill says,


Raymond California Chardonnay in the late 70s and early 80s was very
popular. It was a California blend and they must have gotten it right,
sorta like Kendall Jackson did a few years later. I see no reason in
the world why it would age well since it was never meant to be much
right from the start.



Your experience with Raymond is obviously somewhat more focused than mine, but
I have a few doubts about your recollections of early Raymond chardonnays.

In fairness, I think we need to ask, of which period are we speaking?

I live in a little neighborhood on the north side of Zinfandel Lane, (Raymond
Winery being on the south side of the road), and my wife and I often take our
summer evening walks by their vineyards.

I knew Walt Raymond many years ago, (though he probably wouldn't remember me
now), and over the years I have known some of their winemakers.

The Raymond brothers are honest guys, straight-shooters. True farmers can be
somewhat confused by success, and when success came for these brothers, they
chose to expand, beyond the natural limitations of super-premium quality
winemaking.

Raymond was a phenomenon in the early 1980s with their chardonnays. They were
honest wines, not the residual-sugar monsters coming at the time from
Kendall-Jackson.

The early Raymond wines should be very age-worthy.

Raymond chardonnay circa 1981 or so was well-structured and competent, with no
pretensions, much like the honest, early cabernet vintages of their neighbor,
Charley Wagner, of Caymus.

Then success entered onto the scene. In the early 1980s, Raymond acquired a
Japanese corporate partner with cash.

They bought vineyards in Lake County, which has no similarities whatsoever with
Napa terroir and climate, especially for chardonnay; and they pumped up the
volume.

All the time, however, I think they made an honest wine--a wine which could be
appreciated in "serious" circles.

It wasn't like Jess Jackson, or the Benziger brothers, who pumped out millions
of cases of Kendall-Jackson "Private Reserve", or Glen Ellen "Private Reserve",
2-fer-$5 dollars (with the folksy, Bartles & James homespun labels).

Anyway, I think that often the most ageworthy chardonnays are those which have
NOT been manipulated with all of that "sur-lie", new oak barrel stuff.

Riesling is the most ageworthy "dry" white there is. Chardonnay can be the
same, if it's not mucked up with complicated cellar regimens.

I think that early Raymond chardonnays, while simple by comparison with, say,
Kistler (a totally "Burgundian", processed wine), can be a delight.

Which is also why I admire Stony Hill, Grgich, Sonoma-Cutrer and Chateau
Montelena. And many Oregon and East Coast chardonnays.

Raymond USED to be in that category. Frankly, I don't know anymore. When
their fruit sourcing enlarged geographically and changed, they got carried away
with success.

So, to return to your argument: YES, some of the early (I mean, early) Raymond
wines are FAR better in old age than what you're likely to find in later years,
or today.

But who the hell cares about age? My palate over the past ten years has
approached the point where I only like young wines---white AND red.

[to say nothing of Britney Spears; AHEM]

Some of the best reds I've ever tasted are barrel samples.

If I keep going on like this, I might develop a prediliction only for wines
from the press pan!

Here, I've spent half a lifetime in this business, and I don't even have a
desire to drink any wines from my cellar---they lack freshness and fruit !

My only appreciation for old wines now is old rieslings and sauternes (and
port, of course). Other table wines should be delivered to me fresh off the
bottliing line!

---Bob
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Old 29-06-2004, 02:53 AM
Hunt
 
Posts: n/a
Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays

In article ,
says...

These are Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnays from the Mount Eden Estate.
This property has a very complicated history of owners and winemakers,
and a least part of it was planted by Martin Ray before he lost it in
legal battles.

There can be extreme variations in many Santa Cruz Mountain wines from
year to year. When everything is right, Mount Eden can produce one of
the top Chardonnys of California. Other years produced somewhat
unbalanced, overpriced wines.

The 1989 is now rather full golden. It has considerable fruit still, but
too much oak is showing through and it is a bit flat and heavy. It was
better a few years ago, but not one of Mount Eden's better efforts.

On the other hand, the 1990 is one of the best California Chardonnays I
have had in a long time. It is still quite fresh and probably will hold
well for several more years. It is a rather light lemon color. There is
refined fruit with hints of white peaches and apricots. There is enough
acid, not too much oak, and everything is in perfect balance. It is as
close to a top Puligny Montrachet as I have seen from California. It is
a pity that Mount Eden can not make a wine such as this most of the
time.

Mount Eden and Au Bon Climat are among the very few California firms
that can produce a Chardonnay that can improve for over 10 years. I have
found Au Bon Climat to be considerably more consistent in their reserve
Chardonnays. However, when conditions are right, Mount Eden can produce
a wine as good or better than Au Bon Climat, in a different sort of way.
I find a top Mount Eden to be more Puligny-Montrachet-like, while a top
Au Bon Climat tends to be more Corton-Charlemagne-like, with more
mineral character. Both often need several years of age and may not show
well when tasted young if you do not know how these wines can develop.


Nice to see mention of CA Chards as aging projects. This does not happen
often. I've only known Mount Eden for their Cabs, and NOW must look for their
Chards, as well.

Some time back, I found a bottle of Ferrari-Carano (Sonoma, CA) Reserve Chard
1993, that had gone unnoticed in my cellar. It was in my database, but I had
overlooked it. It was the last of a case, and had been transported, and stored
in AZ, until my cellar was complete. When I discovered this lone survivor, I
brought it up, along with a replacement, as I assumed it was long, long past
drinkability then. To my utter surprise, it was wonderful! Notes of peaches,
honey, and maybe almond (not sure what that last taste really was... ) and the
acidity was still balanced. The fruit had morphed, but it was nectar, none the
less. A year later, I happened to be at the winery and inquired about "library
wines." The lady in the "reserve" tasting room indicated that all "library"
stock had recently been sold to the employees and that she had scored a case
of the '94 Reserve. She lamented that at $5.00/btl, it was probably shot. I
told her of my find, and hoped that she would offer to sell me 1/2 of her
case for whatever. She got very happy with her purchase and only offered an
extra pour for my party at NO CHARGE! Since that find, I've tried to squirrel
away a few bottles of CA Chard that I suspect might age, and have had several
rewards. There have been a few disappointments, but nothing I can't live with.

Again, thanks for the Mount Eden article/TN. I'll call tomorrow and see if I
can get some of their Chards, to go along with my ME Cabs.

Hunt

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Old 29-06-2004, 04:37 AM
Tom S
 
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Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays


"RobertsonChai" wrote in message
...
But who the hell cares about age? My palate over the past ten years has
approached the point where I only like young wines---white AND red.

[to say nothing of Britney Spears; AHEM]


Aha!, you're sooo _busted_!
You're Bob Dole! ;^D

Tom S


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Old 26-07-2004, 06:33 AM
John LaCour
 
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Default TN 89 & 90 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnays

Mount Eden also makes the lower priced 'West Slope' label.
The 2002 West Slope Edna Ranch, Edna Valley is a good
value IMO at $10 and WS 91.

-jal




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