1986 Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County- USA, California, Sonoma County (11/16/2020)
From the most recent Ravenswood library sale via Joel Peterson’s Once & Future venture, this is about as good provenance as one can get with acquiring 30+ year old California wine.
It starts out decidedly high toned. JP has never been afraid of acidity, and that’s one of the things I love about his Ravenswood wines. A little bit of air, and the aromatics begin to unfold. Aged tobacco, green herbs, leather, cassis and a light cedar note speak of Cabernet. It’s not a notably ripe wine, and fans of modern California Cabernet would probably call it unripe. I love it, as it speaks to a time gone by. It’s a window to the way things used to be in Sonoma, and even Napa, before shoulder pads became mandatory accessories to Cabernet-based wines. There’s a kinship with old school Bordeaux, as age has stripped much of the California sunshine, leaving only grape and dirt. It’s a lovely trip down memory lane.
Totally agree on this with most aged wines. If they die within 60 minutes they were dead anyway. Had an '87 Dry Creek Vineyards Merlot this week that was very good initially, but blossomed after an hour in the decanter.
Great note David. I’ve only popped one of the old Ravenswood Cabs thus far and it was similar to yours (though without as much acidity). Looking forward to having a few more, as well a Cab Franc, over the next month.
1986 Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County- USA, California, Sonoma County (1/8/2021)
Possibly the best of the Joel Peterson’s cellar Ravenswood bottles thus far. This smells exactly like a fine left bank Bordeaux from the early 80’s - gorgeous, lively red fruited nose, touch of spring water and tanned leather. Silky palate, beautiful blast of sweet black cherry and plum, fully resolved tannins linger just a bit on the finish with a bit of dust, decent finish with ‘just enough’ acidity to keep it interesting. In the PERFECT space for me right now, this bottle proves how important proper storage is. It’s a gem, the best Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon I recall having.
I was lucky enough to snag a couple from the original O&F release, but alas I have already enjoyed the couple bottles I was able to grab. they were fire too. in fact, the cab franc that I snagged was probably my WOTY in 2020! I’m just fingers crossed that maybe there will be one more release so I can go deep on them
Had this bottle last night with Flannery hangers and 130day Ribeyes. Fantastic wine. Love the acidity. Fresh and quite youthful for 34 years old. Love the cedar and leather notes… All 3 tasters lapped it up.