Nice wine Sat night with friends and a simple dinner.
1989 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain- USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain (3/28/2010)
Wowsa. What a wine. 21 years old and kicking ass. Not everyday I drink a Cali wine from the year I graduated high school. Strained into a decanter as the cork fell to pieces. Initially, it seemed tire. I was concerned. After about 20 minutes. Hello…Mint, tobacco, cedar nose. Palate features leathery red fruit, more tobacco, and a sweet dark fruit that fills the mouth. Just a kiss of acidity hanging in to let you know she’s alive…and it keeps getting better with air. Fuller, rounder, softer. I don’t drink a lot of California Cabernet, but I know a good one when it hits. Terrific.
Dennis, this is a surprising tasting note. 1989 is probably the most challenging year for north coast california cabernet in the past 30 years (maybe 1988 too), and Laurel Glen is austere even in a good year (not a bad thing depending on your tastes). Maybe it’s true that all these ripe CA cabs are not going to age, instead they should be picking earlier to preserve the acids??? Hmmmm…
Have heard that '89 was that bad, Errol.
I’m no student of older Cali Cabs, but I’ve had a couple very good '89s in the past six months.
This Laurel Glen and the '89 S. Anderson Richard Chambers.
No complaints on either.
The pattern is that ripe, low acid wines don’t age at all-- they may last a few years, but not long enough to develop tertiary characteristics. By contrast, wines seen as “lean and unforgiving” upon release will often last longer than anyone would guess (as with the two cases of third-tier 1970 Bordeaux which are currently my house wines).
To me, the great tragedy in the critical encouragement of ripe, unageable wines is that there will be little or no drinkable wine from most modern vintages in twenty or thirty years, especially those which are considered good vintages by the wine press. (If anyone had a milestone occurrence in 2003, I hope they enjoy Port!) So, we’ll all be stuck drinking new-release stuff, or possibly aged Riesling.