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WTN: 4th of July '85's

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Tom V

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WTN: 4th of July '85's

by Tom V » Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:33 pm

Well, I am happy to say that my tasting of '85 California Cabs was a total success! The wines were all fresh tasting and although many wine charts still list the wines as "tannic" we found the wines to be very accessible and with an agreeable tannic presence.
Although we are all wine lovers we aren't used to ( or maybe capable of?) detecting an extensive list of characteristics, that being said, some of our observations:
'85 Carmenet nice cab nose with hints of violets, black cherry and plums on the palate.
'85 Laurel Glen black fruits, nice what I'd call "dusty" tannins on the finish
'85 Raymond Private Reserve mature cab nose, fruity and delicious, fully resolved tannins.
'85 Phelps Insignia this one kind of argues for drinking the best 1st! It really needed to open but while I was fiddling with the barbeque it disappeared! It was very fresh and I would take it for a younger wine if I didn't know it was an '85. Still has plenty of tannins, and I am sure another decade ahead of it. If I were having it again, I'd decant it 1/2 hr before drinking.
'85 Graurd Larose. Amazing how different the nose was! Very Bordeaux, you could tell right away it wasn't California. Totally mature, and softer than most of the Cabs.
'85 Guenoc By the time this bottle came out, about all we could really say was "wow this one's nice too"!
So, I say well stored '85 Cabs are great for current drinking!

Before getting into the Cabs we sampled a couple of old Cal Chardonays:
'89 Kalin Cellars Supposed to be able to age well, everyone liked this bottle which we consumed with a great selection of aged cheeses. It was obviously not a young wine but had nice acidity, and a nutty quality on the nose and palate.
'94 Mount Eden This one had some fruit on the nose and younger tasting
also very nice with some nutty hints. Both great cheese wines!
And that was the 4th of July tasting! Tom V :)
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Paul Savage

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Re: 4th of July '85's

by Paul Savage » Sat Jul 08, 2006 11:02 pm

Nice report Tom! I still have a few '85 Cabs in the cellar somewhere myself, but since I moved, about a year ago, I don't know where much of anything is anymore! :?

Interesting too, that the '85 Grauad would be softer than the Cabs, though, if you think about it, that is in keeping with the respective styles of that vintage in those two areas. The '86 Gruaud, OTOH, which I had a few weeks ago, took HOURS before it really started to shine! A friend told me an '85 Mayacamas also took hours before showing really well, but that is also in keeping with what I would expect from Mayacamas of that era! ...Paul
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Re: WTN: 4th of July '85's

by Jenise » Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:36 am

"wow this one's nice too"!

Love it when that happens. I'm a little surprised all those 85's are holding up so well--I thought that vintage was given up for dead some time ago. Or am I getting it confused with 86?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Still Alive!

by Tom V » Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:18 pm

Jenise, I checked on Parker's web site and sure enough the '85 Cabs North Coast are still listed as of the Nov 2005 Vintage Chart as 90T with the T being defined as "still tanic, youthful, or slow to mature"! The '86 vintage by comparison in listed as 90R (ready). I guess that's why we enjoyed the wines we tasted so much, and in fact in retrospect felt the Insignia should have been given time to open like Paul's friend's Mayacamas.

I certainly don't always agree with Parker, for instance he hated the '85 Carmenet when he tasted it in 1995 and we really enjoyed it, but as far as potential longevity of the 1985's, I found it interesting that Parker, also in 1995, said of the Phelps Eisle that it's maturity range was 2000-2020, and of the Insignia 1995-2010! Tom V

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