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geo t.

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TN: '96 Harlan The Maiden & '99 Blankiet Estate Cab

by geo t. » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:06 am

We enjoyed these two with our friends Margaret Marchak and Mark Schreier on Thanksgiving Day.

1996 Harlan The Maiden Napa Valley Red Wine, 14.5% alc.: This dark garnet has developed beautifully since the last time I tried it, as some secondary characteristics are starting to dominate its personality, with cedar and cigar box over black currant and blackberry flavors and aromas. Medium full to full bodied, this shows marvelous elegance and refinement, and it’s still on the way up, with good structure that doesn’t interfere with the pleasure that it already offers. This had us all oohing an ahhing, and it evaporated much too quickly.

1999 Blankiet Estate Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Paradise Hills Vineyard, $90-ish: A big disappointment, one we’d have been better off to flip, given the ridiculous sums its getting at auction. Dark garnet, fading to pink at the rim, it immediately drew the following comment from Kim: “It smells like plastic.” Margaret agreed, and while I didn’t get any plastic, I didn’t find anything to get excited about either; it’s not exactly flat or dull, but it seems rather clunky, especially after The Maiden, with black currant and plum and some tobacco as it opens. It’s buoyed by moderate tannins and acids, with a so-so finish, and while it’s not a “bad” wine, it’s way overpriced, and if it wasn’t an off-bottle, some people who’re paying those big bucks on the secondary market are going to be plenty pissed off. I revisited it later in the evening to see if it improved with air, and it actually did a little, but not enough to gain redemption.

- from The Drawing of the Threes

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