2003 California Cabernet Retrospective: At Age 10, Wines Show the Year's Difficulties

Interesting article by Laube on WS. 2003’s, for the most part, are not showing well in his opinion. A lot of Napa heavy hitters are scoring below 90 and declared “dry” having lost their fruit. Does the board concur?

I never thought the 03’s were good anyway - too ripe for my taste, and I wouldn’t want to age them 10 years. I’m confident the fruit is gone

I had a 2003 Isosceles recently that was very tertiary but quite enjoyable.

I have a bottle of '03 Ridge Monte Bello. If Frenchie thinks '03 is too ripe then I know I’ll enjoy it thoroughly!

It’s a mixed bag. I’ve had very good '03s in the last year, along with some that haven’t held up well (or maybe never were that good). Larkmead’s '03 Firebelle and cab both surprised me with how good they were. Same with Seavey. An '03 Spottswoode opened two weeks ago was still very young but full of promise.

2003 Sloan might be one of the worst wines I’ve ever had. I don’t know if it was a vintage thing or just that wine itself was just awful but I’ve had it twice and it was very consistent in its crappiness. In fact I’ve never seen a “cult” wine so poorly scored on CT before.

Not my favorite vintage. Some show rather ripe, but I’m not finding many with the fruit dried up.

Wow - that is not a description I think of in terms of 2003 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons. “Confident the fruit is gone?”

I have exactly 13 bottles left of my own venture. My “complaint” about it has always been high acid. A lurker here recently informed me he found some bottles on the secondary market. It will be interesting to taste and hear about these wines, in addition to my own limited ventures. In a few vertical dinners I have done, I think my own 2003 was a trailer when compared to some other vintages I have produced. Hey - someone (some vintage) had to be last or can’t be first, I guess.

Joe, something to open on Saturday perhaps.

I beg to differ on an '03 Blank from this weekend – locked and loaded!

I’ll have to see if I have any other 2003s lurking in the depths. 2005s I know I have - I mean of other labels. 2003 I am not so sure.

Is this statement that napa cabs are generally terrible also applies to the mountain wineries?

Had a number of 03 Corison cabs over the last year and they are drinking very well IMO.

A tough year in many parts of the world. But to say all “XX” wines are crap is IMO wrong. Like any tough vintage there are always some winners in the bunch.

That said…I’m generally not a fan if this vintage but I’ve had some very good ones as well.

Well the Caymus SS has a 93 point CT rating with 90 people tasting it.

The only reason why I know this is that I somehow have a mag of it in my cellar.

03 Seavey is going strong and drinking great now with at least 5 years of life ahead.

I don’t think any bought any 03’s, still have a bunch of 97’s still drinking well.

I have had only one which was the Fisher Lamb consumed in June. It did have noticeable acid but not what I consider too much YMMV. However, it was not overly ripe or devoid of fruit and drinking very nice right now.

Most 2003s I had when young were somewhat disappointing; some seemed ‘manufactured’ and unbalanced. I personally think time has been kind to many of them. I actually have been quietly purchasing some when I see them on special; the 2003 Pride Cabernet from last weeks winebid auction is a perfect example. $45. I will check my recent notes on others. Seavey normally does well in ‘off’ years; their 2000 is stupendous. Karl Lawrence Reserves are great and I found a bunch some time back for something like $55-65. Recently Gemstone G was a wow wine. these too could be found at a big discount. others are Kuleto, Jones Sisters, Page and Harris.
As far as Laube, he has been a non-entity to me for many years and remains so. I say follow your palate.

Not Cabernet Sauvignon but 03 Arietta is quite good Napa wine.