TN: '91 Sterling 3 Palms Merlot - Mag

Hell of a nice wine…forgot what I paid for it…I have it around here somewhere in a folder in the office, too lazy to go look it up…but I’m guessing $50-something…bought it on release and it’s been resting comfortably in my cellar since it was released.

Bottle and cork in perfect shape…cork “wine stained” to about a third of the way up. Color is young, right out of the bottle. Initially, would have been challenged to call this a '91, good color all the way through, excellent limpidity. On the nose, really, really pretty…and was more pronounced as the evening wore on. Notes of black cherry, cedar, tobacco a hint of funk and truffle…and after an hour or so, VERY full of the perfume of those notes.

On the palate, softened, resolved, sweet tannin…round, unexpectedly rich for a '91 and full of pretty, tertiary notes. Finishes long and proud…I believe I have 1 more bottle in the cellar…a mag…and for that, another 5 years is probably fine.

Hell of a nice wine…have this wine in '91 through '95…as well as a bunch of other Sterling wines from these vintages. Stopped buying Sterling after the '97 vintage.

Had a 1991 Sterling Reserve Cabernet recently, and thought it was just terrible! I mean really terrible!!! Good to hear the Merlot is drinking well . . .

Had a '94 Sterling Reserve in the past year…pretty decent.

Might have been a bad bottle?

I have some '91 Sterling Reserve…in fact, I have the wine '86 - '97…I’ll see if I can dig one up and pull a cork. I’m getting down to one’s and two’s on the wines…not lots of them left.

great note.

I remember when Sterling made wines that people actually seeked out and enjoyed drinking. (80s).

I believe it was early poster child for the corporate storm that was to invade the Valley. I remember visiting the new sleek and very informative winery via cable car. how my 18 month old son loved oooohd and aaaahd.

The last few Reserve I have had were horrendous. Too bad.


Perhaps, but you certainly could not tell on mine by the bottle condition (it was pristine in every way). Agree, some of the mid-1990’s were pretty good, 94 to 97, and 87 is drinking very well! A group of us opened one in an old wine tasted, and turned out to be our favoriate among some good competition: Heitz, BV GDL and the like! Curious what you think of the 86 if you open one in the near future?

I would guess an off bottle. While I haven’t had a bottle in maybe 3-4 years, I am down to my last of 6 bottles I bought new, I wish that I would have bought 12.

Exactly right, I think they were the first to get swallowed…most of my Sterlings from the '80’s got finished last year…I have some Sterling Reserve…'86 - '97 I think.

I do remember one of the more memorable bottles I had last year was an '83 Napa Cab…and we had that side by side an '83 Grand Puy LaCoste…NO COMPARISON…the '83 Sterling Cab BLEW the Pauillac away…like, not even close…and I think I paid $12 or $15 for it.

If I can get to a Sterling Reserve easy enough this weekend, I’ll pop one and write up a TN…