cult-list wine you miss the most?

back in the day i would have killed to get on lists that i can now barely remember. i tried to think of which of those wines i miss drinking the most and all i could come up with was harlan maiden. it wasn’t ridiculously priced and i could open a bottle without the guilt of it’s big brother.
the days of hunting down the likes of harlan, bond, colgin, maya, araujo, scarecrow, levy and mclellan and sloan are thankfully behind me, but on occasion i wouldn’t mind a glass or 2. maiden is often available on the auction market at decent prices so i’ve got a couple of bottles in the fridge.

so, what if anything do you miss?

It was probably Harlan, because relative Bryant Family things were already uncoiling and its future was going to be a ride that didn’t assure me like Harlan’s. But, when I actually made Harlan…[insert broken record emoticon] the price had boxed me out.




Stony Hill


For me, a similar question would be: Which “cult” winemakers were able to maintain a very high plateau of peak quality for an extended period of time?

I guess that Caymus was a cult back in the 1980s, and they’ve held pretty steady since then [certainly with “Special Selection”].

But Stag’s Leap has faded completely off the radar since the 1970s.

And for a while there, it seemed like maybe Dominus might resurrect some of the old Inglenook/Napanook magic, but nobody really talks about them anymore.

I’ve tried to make this point before, but no one seems to be able to establish a vineyard in California as being really first rate for much more than 10 years or so.

My theory is soil exhaustion, but I know that most people blame it on itinerant winemakers.

For yesteryear…


More recent…


While not exactly culty, I stopped buying Rudd and don’t hear from them now.
We drank 04 Estate last weekend and it was marvelous.
So I might seek out some more Rudd

Nathan - maybe Ridge Montebello is the exception to this and I am sure there are others.

Seems like a lot of the old cults, like Colgin, have finally jacked up prices near to what they go for in the aftermarket, eliminating the waiting list. Of course, some haven’t (I was amused to log into Schrader’s web site today after years to find out that my “offer” consists of a bunch of baseball caps and a wine tote…)


I blame the definition of “cult” for its short-term focus. “Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.”

In reality, I blame the critics. When Parker and Laube made high-octane wines all the rage, the critics decried the winemakers who didn’t adjust their style and fall in line. I guess I also blame the winemakers who adjusted to get those 100’s. And maybe the sheep who follow the critics. (I hate my pre-40 year old self, apparently).

+1, as well as Insignia, which I used to buy by the case when it was sub $100

I remember when I first got back into wine, Bryant Family was the be-all and end-all of the cults.

And then Helen Turley departed, and Bryant Family fell right off the edge of a cliff.

And is Screagle’s reputation going to survive the transition to the new ownership team?

It’s hard to imagine a great French terroir - Latour or Margaux or Ausone - being so devastated by the loss of a just one employee [or one contractor/consultant or whatever].

DRC certainly managed to survive the kerfuffle with Lalou Bize Leroy.

I guess there’s the example of Dante Scaglione at Giacosa, but Giacosa is more of a negociant than a domain [and it’s Italy, not France].

Still, either the French are exceptionally good at retaining their winemakers [and the winemaker contributes vastly more to the final product than the French want to acknowledge, vis-a-vis the French emphasis on terroir], or else something goes wrong with the California soil after a decade or two.

Or maybe old vine Cabernet just doesn’t work in California, and the vines need to be ripped out every few years.

I dunno.

But none of these California estates seem to have any long-term staying power.

I just made the Rochioli list, and by comparison, it is relatively cheap IMHO. Other than the West Block, which I may never be allocated due to my limited purchases, all are under $100 and I enjoy them quite a bit more than most Napa Cabs at equivalent pricing.

I’m probably not the best guy to pontificate about Ridge, because I just don’t “get” their red wines.

I’ve tasted fairly extensively through both young and aged Ridge reds, and I feel like their Chardonnay just blows away anything that they do with Cabernet or Zinfandel.

But I also understand that no one can make a profit selling only white wine, and so they have to make the reds if for no other reason than just to stay in business.

Another good example would be Mondavi.

I got a chance to taste through the big library release a few years ago - something like a dozen different vintages through the 1990s and 2000s - and, with one exception, none of them could hold a candle to the 1978.

The one exception being that extremely high acid AFWE outlier which Tim Mondavi made in 1995, and which started to solidify his reputation as someone who needed to be fired [in the eyes of both Parker and Laube].

But as much as I liked that high-acid bright-red AFWE 1995, it was the absolute antithesis of the dark-brown liquid chocolate 1978.

And I don’t think that - for whatever reason - Mondavi’s Napa “Reserve” vineyards are capable of making a 1978 again.

Their vines just don’t seem to put out the fruit esters like they used to.

Memorable quote Nathan - thanks! [wink.gif]