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