TN: 1984 Acacia Merlot Napa Valley

I took a flyer for $20 that I didn’t pay enough attention to on Winebid. Upon winning and actually reading the description, I read, “Lightly nicked capsule; lightly soiled capsule; light signs of past seepage; very top shoulder fill; lightly stained label; lightly torn label”. I quickly wrote that $20 off as lost and was expecting to dump this down the drain after smelling vinegar and sausage. Pleasantly to my surprise, I scraped off the capsule and saw fungus growing on the top of the cork–but a good looking cork. I pulled it out in one piece and this was sublime. Transparent ruby red; looked like Burgundy. Great nose that was thoroughly tertiary nose with forest floor and cigars. Still has nice acid and smooth tannins. Great acidity and red raspberries on the attack. Great mid and decent lingering finish. To think I was almost embarrassed that I bought it. What a surprise.

Congratulations on your surprising win, Josh!!!


It was made by Joe Cafaro.
The land bought for the winery became Robert Sinskey, who was a key investor in Acacia.

VTS should definitely not be a concern for a 34 year old wine, and light signs of past seepage could feasibly originate from bottling (and having a blob of mould on the top can be a sign that was exactly what happened).

Perhaps we’ve also become conditioned to believe Merlot doesn’t age well, but it most certainly can.

Still, you never know until the cork is popped, and getting such great enjoyment is all the more special when expectations are lower.

Thanks for posting on such a great talking point.