Tag Archives: 1997

Great California Chardonnay and Cabernet: From 1965 to Present

My favorite wine from our Chardonnay flights was the gorgeous 2007 Rhys Alpine, which is still a baby, but our 1990 Mount Eden was also a real treat. We then had three flights of Cabernet: an older flight, going back to 1965; a maturing flight from the ’90s; and a vertical of Shafer Hillside Select. The stars of these three flights for me were the 1991 Peter Michael Les Pavots, my WOTN; a stellar bottle of 1965 Charles Krug Vineyard Selection; and the ’97 Shafer Hillside Select. Continue reading

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Super Tuscans: Legacy of a One-Time Wine World Darling

Super Tuscans were darlings of the wine world from the mid-’90s through the early 2000s. These wines, whose producers include some of Italy’s most illustrious and historically significant, are based sometimes on blends of Sangiovese with international varietals–like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot–and sometimes just on international varietals. The term Super Tuscan is used to describe any red wine from the Tuscan region that does not conform to the region’s DOC(G) blending requirements, such as the Chianti DOC rule that the dominant grape of the blend has to be Sangiovese. Many Super Tuscans garnered very high scores from Parker and the Wine Spectator, leading to much demand and increasingly high prices for these wines. By the middle of the first decade of 2000, however, many Italian producers were offering Super Tuscan blends, most of which were indistinguishable from red international varietal blends from elsewhere. The market grew increasingly soft for these kinds of wines, and only the top, most well established names are still commanding prices well over $100 a bottle, and the demand even for these wines is much reduced from their heyday. Continue reading

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Cork vs. Screw Cap at 14 years: PlumpJack Reserve Cabernet

So what’s my takeaway from this tasting? Well, it’s just one more data point: a sample of a wine meant for aging, nearly 14 years from the vintage, where the Stelvin closed bottle resulted in a tastier, plusher sample, with more fruit and some development of the tannins and oak than the identical wine sealed under cork. I must admit I’m surprised, as it’s not what I expected. Continue reading

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