1996 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon- USA, California, Napa Valley (7/8/2010)
20 minute decant. Color is ruby-garnet with the most beautiful edges of crimson. The nose shows a wonderful old cab quality: one that really pleases the senses. It has mature black currant, cola, un-cola, spring flowers, sweet red cherries, and leather. The palate has all that plus some super-integrated tannins, lilty acidity, fragrant crushed late summer red-berry fruits, ultra smooth worn out leather, a hint of soy, a nod of forest floor after the rain and so much more. It really out shown the last bottle, and I am actually glad I have another. It’s a very light weight cab, almost pinot like in its attack; very focused and elegant, this really belies its 14 year age well. A super long finish that keeps all the goodness alive, almost conveyor like. The key to this wine is its serving temperature: This really needs to be served about 60-65. Any warmer and it gets awkward and flabby. I can live with keeping it cool alongside myself these day. (92 pts.)
I’ve had the '95 a few times. Not as pretty as this tonight.
Note from march 2009:
1995 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon Library Selection- Fully matured with some bricking of the edges, this has some great aged cab notes of cassis, soy sauce, some earthiness, and a good dimension of red fruits throughout. Very admirable. 90/100
First one: Popped and poured at a restaurant. Probably should have decanted; slight mustiness on opening but nothing offensive. Subtle fruits and chocolate came out after 10 minutes of in-glass breathing, with some leather. Buttery smooth finish with good length. No heat. Will decant the next one. 91 pts.
Second: Decanted this time; seemed like a totally different wine than my first experience. Perhaps that one was a tad flawed; the fruit in this bottle was far more powerful; delicious black cherry and leather with silky smooth tannins. Still no heat but it carried a delicious length for a solid 40 seconds post-drink. I think this could lay down for another year; the cork had some seepage, though. 92 pts.
As regards drinking temperature, I consumed the first bottle after having it sit out in my office all day, so it was probably ~70-72 degrees. The second bottle was consumed outside on a semi-warm day, but straight from the cellar at about 60. Hmm…
I also have a few 96s left, and I just picked up two 95s (a trade through this board). I’ve not yet tried a 95 but I think I will pop one this weekend.
I had a bottle of the '95 three nights ago (yes, a WTSO purchase). It was my last bottle, and by far the most youthful of them all. Somehow this one still had a tannic finish and no bricking. From your note, it looks like I should have snagged some of the '96 as well …
I drank a vertical of '95, '96 and '97, all decanted for around an hour at Craft Los Angeles (I brought them), and think the 95 is far and away the best, followed by the '96 and then the '97. The '96 is also good but I would not recommend the 97 as most of the fruit is gone and most of my corks have been bad with around 1/3 of the bottles being bad.
If you can find the '95 I would buy it up. I have 7 bottles left and plan to drink one tonight.