TN: 1980 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Gamble Ranch

  • 1980 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Gamble Ranch - USA, California, Napa Valley (8/1/2009)
    Initially this smelled very ripe but in the way a young ripe wine would. That ripeness seemed to fade some with air an the forceful and still big rich Cab fruit stepped up with leather and cedar notes taking over. Still richly fruited on the palate this honestly seemed like it could use more aging. It did seem to lack some acidity making it a bit round or clipped. I would hope that would balance out with more time. This gave me a lot more than I expected.

Posted from CellarTracker

I didn’t notice when I bought it or even opened it but when I took the last glass home I saw that it said Napa Valley on it so I went searching. Apparently Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyards made a one off in 1980 from Napa Valley and they handled it with the skill they show with their local fruit. I like this but wasn’t wild about it. Was more fascinated by the apparent ripeness initially and the still hugely fruited character of it after almost 30 years.

Here is a link to the winery’s notes where they called it a ripe year." onclick=";return false;


Thanks for the note. That’s a new one on me. Sounds like an interesting treat. Where in the heck did you come across this?


Was interesting because I assumed it was a SC Mountains wine. Didn’t notice the ‘Napa Valley’ the 7 hours I was over at Andy’s either.

WineBid of course. [wink.gif]

Wow, interesting. I didn’t notice that either. Was still a good drink and honestly, it was better than I thought it would have been. THanks for bringing it Cris

Ive only had one other mid 80’s Cab from SCMV and it was also surprisingly good, but in a way where you have to like older mature wines.

thanks for the note. im vintage 1980 and always curious to hear others impressions on the wines. ive only had port and banyuls from my birthyear. unfortunately it seems like 1980 wasnt a great vintage overall, though i have heard of some success stories from napa (such as your note)

Never had this wine, but… back in that era, KenBurnap practiced highly reductive winemaking techniques. His '80 & '81 Duriff and
BatesRanch Cabs stunk to high heaven on release (about $25/btl then)…fecal/sewergas/stink…the classic BurnapStench. I bought
a bunch on closeout at around $6/btl. They were both huge/massive/extracted wine…but stunk up the place upon opening. But, with some 10 yrs of age,
that reduced character disappeared and they turned into magnificant wines. Taught me a lesson about reductive wines…age will usually
take care of the problem.

Will it take care of the Albans as of late?

I think it will, with time. John tends towards reductive winemaking as well.