A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

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ChrisJames
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A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#1 Post by ChrisJames »

A dear friend of mine was born in 1951 in Sonoma Valley near Alexander Valley. He has deeply fond memories of drinking the Cabs and Zins of that region in his youth, especially Alexander Valley. For the last several years, he has been trying to recapture that youthful memory in a bottle and has been consistently disappointed. He even went to his favorite winery of that time (Alexander Valley). Despite spending $80/bottle, he did not find what he was looking for.

Last night, we shared a few bottles of OR PN and told him about my 1975 Bordeaux tasting, commenting in passing that they were 12% alcohol. And the light bulb went off for him. He has been trying all these 15% fruit/oak monsters that have no resemblance to the wines of his youth.

I recalled seeing some comments on this board about a quiet renaissance in CA wine making to return to the old style and offered to throw out an inquiry. My friend is less concerned about cost (though he does not have a helicopter) than style. And he is fine if the wineries do not offer dinner. The goal is Sonoma or (even better) Alexander Valley Cabs and Zins. He is not interested in Napa.

Any leads will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#2 Post by H Wallace Jr »

Sonoma but not Alexander Valley that fit the leaner more old school style

Enfield Waterhorse Ridge Cab (Sonoma Coast)
Arnot Roberts Clajeaux Vineyard (Chalk Hill)
Arnot Robers Monticello Vineyard (Moon Mountain)
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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#3 Post by Mel Knox »

Styles change so rapidly it can be hard to keep track.

Recent finds in my cellar that fit the fill:
Simi Reserve
Edge Hill
Jordan
Clos du Bois from the '90s
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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#4 Post by Jay Miller »

He should try Scherrer Scherrer Vineyard Cabernet and Scherrer Old & Mature Vines Zin. Preferably with age but that can be harder to come by.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#5 Post by Robert Dentice »

Not easy to find but I highly recommend Beta from one of the following vineyards Moon Mountain, Chuey or Monticello. These are exactly what you described.
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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#6 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f »

Calluna

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#7 Post by Ron Slye »

I would second Beta. Perhaps also Ceritas Cabernet -- though I don't recall what the abv is.

One other, though in Napa, would be Virage. Again I dont recall the ABV, but Emily has some wines with age available on her website that I find to be closer to I think what your friend is seeking.

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#8 Post by dougwilder »

The issue you will run into is wines back then were usually quite a bit lower in alcohol (under 13%) was not that uncommon, little to no oak and possibly blended with other black grapes. Styles have obviously changed as has viticulture. Some of the oldest plant DNA can be found at Bill Nachbaur's Alegria Vineyard (Acorn Winery) where virtually everything is field blend.
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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#9 Post by Ed Steinway »

For older Cabs, the Laurel Glen Cabs from the mid-80's to mid-90's would be my first recommendation. As Mel said, the Simi Reserves would also be a worth a look. Carlisle has started to make a Cab from the Monticello vineyard. I have not tried one yet but his notes speak to more of an old-style Cab.

Ed

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#10 Post by Peter Petersen »

Beta is the perfect match.
I just tried the 2019 Bedrock Cab and would highly recommend it, only $29 and probably not too difficult to find.

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#11 Post by Robert Dentice »

Ron Slye wrote: April 8th, 2021, 1:43 pm I would second Beta. Perhaps also Ceritas Cabernet -- though I don't recall what the abv is.

One other, though in Napa, would be Virage. Again I dont recall the ABV, but Emily has some wines with age available on her website that I find to be closer to I think what your friend is seeking.
Ceritas is a great suggestion.
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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#12 Post by Wes Barton »

Scherrer was the first to come to mind. I have to defer to others' recommendations otherwise.

If he's okay looking more broadly for that general style, the I. Brand Cab Franc Bates Ranch and the Sandler Cab Sauv (Oak Knoll - soft, lower ABV, leaning towards red fruit) fit the bill. Certainly other examples down in San Benito, Monterrey, Santa Clara Valley. Older Kathryn Kennedy Estate works, too. (Most of the vineyard is now gone, so what's left commands a much higher price.)
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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#13 Post by mmarcellus »

Hobo makes gently priced Cabernets and Zinfandels from Sonoma. They are great daily drinkers, and do remind me of the California wines I used to love in the 70's and 80's before everything went to hell.
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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#14 Post by Victor Hong »

Scour Winebid.
WineHunter.

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#15 Post by ChrisJames »

Thanks everyone for your recommendations! So far, he has jumped on Scherrer. Unfortunately, Beta, Ceritas, and Arnot Roberts are tightly allocated mailing list clubs. However, this has been a big step for a guy who has been going off Vivino recommendations despite my repeated offers for help. Baby steps!

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Re: A personal friend with no helicopter seeking early 1970s style Sonoma Cab producers

#16 Post by Chuck Turack »

Call A. Rafanelli in Dry Creek and try their cab and zin.

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