Santa Cruz Mountain Cabs, '78, '95, '12

Santa Cruz Mountain Cabs – ’78, ’95 and ‘12

Commercial Post: Refugees from another board will know that I am a very passionate partisan for Santa Cruz Mountain wines. Early in my career, I represented Mount Eden Vineyards in DC, MD and VA. I am now representing them again in the State of Maine. I never post on wines I represent. Time to break a rule I’ve observed for decades, there goes my credibility, but:

I only represent them in one minuscule market (Maine).
I only do so at my distributor’s request, because it eases their paperwork.
I make no profit, only enough to cover my expenses.

OK, sins explained if not expiated:

These notes were taken under working conditions, tough conditions. I brought some old bottles to a big tasting to showcase the SCM, but only had time for one micro-taste just before the hordes descended.

1978 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Bates Ranch’ –
Medium crimson color with some definite orange bricking. Aromas are intense, balanced, savory, plummy and earthy, but also lively. The palate is mature, balanced, tannins resolved, a lot of still fresh, very ripe fruit featuring red currants, red plums and black cherries. Medium in body, this is fully mature, but in no danger of quick decline. Rated somewhere about 95 – 97. I don’t own any more, but think I know a restaurant where I can buy one at a reasonable price, will go there late July and if it’s there I’ll post again.

1995 Mount Eden Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – No bricking here, very dark ruby to the rim. Fresh, vivid aromas feature black currants, cedar, iron and earth. The palate is vigorous but polite, with significant but fine tannins in harmony with some opulence and a very vivid mouthfeel. This is approaching a peak that it should hold for a decade or two. The finish is very long, approaching a minute, but more about equilibrium than length. Rated 96 – 98, this is very great Cabernet. I don’t own any more and don’t know where to get any, dammit.

2012 Mount Eden Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – I am hesitant to post on this because it is current release and I represent it, even if only in a micro-market, but here we go:
Deep ruby color to the rim. Surprisingly open aromas of black raspberries, red currants and intense minerals. Excellent palate intensity, vigorous but surprisingly polite for what should be a five year old brat. There are plums to the forefront along with currants, raspberries fall in line behind, with conifers and minerality on the front of the palate. There is fine balance, fine tension between tannins and ripeness, a lot of finesse for a powerhouse. No rating, but should reach maturity relatively quickly for the bottling, probably peak in another 10 – 15 years.

Dan Kravitz

Thanks Dan - I’m a big fan of these cabs. Monte Bello and A-R Fellom Ranch are pretty good too!

Wow, I have a bottle of the 1978 so this is a useful data point for me.

I lost out on a `78 SCMV Pinot on winebid not long ago… Great to hear these are still drinking well.

I am biased too. I live in the SCM and belong to both these wine clubs. Was just tasting at SCMV two weekends ago. Jeff is doing an amazing job with his Quinta Cruz line. The Graciano and the Souzão are excellent.

I also has a chance to barrel sample a new single vineyard pinot that should be released later this year. It was less ripe than other SCMV pinot, very acidic, tart cherry and good earth and some pepper. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. This wine seems to make another step toward old world compared to their existing offerings IMO. Wish I could remember what it was called.