Wine Talk

Snooth User: edwilley3

1996 California Cabs

Posted by edwilley3, Jun 5, 2013.

Who else is still drinking the 1996 California cabs?  I had yet another bottle on Memorial Day and loved it.  Altamura '96 was lovely. Previously I've loved the 1996 BV GdLatour.  As we know, 1997 amazed people but has largely faded early. 

Two questions:

1. Which of the 2000s vintages will age like the 96s have done so gracefully?

2. Which 1996s in your cellars fared the best?

Cheers!

Replies

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Reply by cma238, Jun 5, 2013.

Hi Edwilley! Try Silver Oak. I had some of their '96 cab (magnum style) at a wedding just last week and it was otherworldly. Even cooler: everyone at the wedding who had a glass signed the bottle. 

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Reply by EMark, Jun 6, 2013.

Ed, I did not think I had much to contribute to this conversation, but I was trying to clean up my inventory listing and noticed that we had the '96 Cab Clos du Val Napa Valley a few months ago.  I remember that meal and the wine was very graceful and paired wonderfully with our rack of lamb entree that evening.  I also noted that last year we had a '96 Kenwood Jack London Vineyard that was outstanding. 

The only '96es that are still in my cellar are a Kenwood Artist Series from Sonoma Valley and a Venezia from Alexander Valley.  Both these wines were well-regarded on release.  We'll see how they are doing.  I don't think Venezia wines are being produced anymore.  I think they were a second label for the Geyser Peak winery.

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Reply by gregt, Jun 6, 2013.

Underrated vintage mostly because of the 1997s but outperforming many 1997s today. Staglin is still great, Pahlmeyer Merlot still great, Dunn, Corison, Beringer.  

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 10, 2013.

I'd love to hear any advice you might have regarding which are the best options for 1996 wines that still have some aging potential? Or does that really push the envelope in terms of aging for that vintage? If not, I'd be interested in buying some for sentimental reasons.....1996 was a special year for me.

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 10, 2013.

I had been thinking specifically California cab....but I'd love to hear anything anyone might have to say about any wines for that particular vintage.

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Reply by gregt, Jun 10, 2013.

If you're talking about CA Cab, you're usually talking about Napa. The vintage was different in other regions so you need to look into those. But as I mentioned, i think it's a good vintage. So any of the better Napa Cabs should be good to go. It's not really that old and if you stick to some that are proven to age, you'll be OK. From that vintage, the Napa wines I've had include Chappellet, Corison, Crocker and Starr, Pahlmeyer, Fife, Pride, Dunn, Staglin, Montecillo, Beringer, B.V., Steltzner, Heitz, Viader, and probably others but those are what come to mind at the moment.  Anyhow, those wines are aging quite well. It's not pushing the envelope at all if you want to keep some of them a few more years. Chappellet, Corison, Dunn, Staglin in particular.

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Reply by edwilley3, Jun 12, 2013.

The Mondavi Reserve cab I had a few months ago was surprisingly youthful, but it was very carefully cellared. By comparison, the once lauded '97 Arrowood has gone well past peak, even if it's still relatively enjoyable. My guess is that the best 1996 Napa cabs have another 5+ years of first class drinking assuming proper cellaring and will go downhill gracefully.  The trouble now is finding more bottles once you've gone through your stash.

I think I'm going to pick up the rest of the 1996 Altamura here in Dallas (of which I am aware, anyway). One nice thing about drinking less recent vintages is that they tend to be less overextracted.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 12, 2013.

Definitely a nice vintage for aging.., some of that is due to the era which was a lot different than modern times. Hard to say what will go long in the 00's, I actually doubt any of them will age like '96, but if forced to pick I'd go with 2006...would like to say '01 and '02, but it's hard to say.

Would also like to say On the other end I'd avoid '07 and most '08's

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Reply by edwilley3, Jun 12, 2013.

I drank plenty of 2007 Bell Napa Cab and loved it. When I revisited it last year it had closed down. Sadly I am depleted so I cannot try it again. The 2008s I've tasted have been in two camps: Intensely extracted and almost brooding but missing complexity OR somewhat less extracted with more prominent tobacco and some meaty notes. The latter is fine by me and Bell did it well. Altamura was in the former category. Yet I think I would rather invest more in the recent Rhones and any good older vintage bottles I can find. 

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 12, 2013.

Yeah, their are plenty 07's and 08's drinking well now, though usually not my kind of style. I hear Ridge Monte Bello was great in '07, but that's Santa Cruz mountains...always a candidate to age.

You and Fox are the Bell experts...maybe we'll have to do a Cabernet dinner next time.

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 16, 2013.

Thanks for the feedback on the 1996 vintage. I will see what I can find around over time.

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Reply by gregt, Jun 16, 2013.

Oh and Ridge. You said Cab but I'm drinking their Zins from 94, 5, and 6 and they're quite nice. Less well-known but maybe cheaper than some of the others is Chateau Potelle. There were some pretty good wines besides Cab that were made in that vintage. There are several Zins that come to mind, but Phelps Mistral, of which I still have almost a case from 1996, is really good. Put it into a blind tasting of some CdPs and see what people think. I have to burn thru them in the next few years because I don't think they're going to be impoving all that much, but they're drinking well right now. The blend for that year was from all over CA, but that doesn't mean the wine isn't good. Phelps sold the Mistral brand and vineyards in 2007, but back then they were making the wine. Here's the make-up of the blend: 

 

45% Grenache (Monterey)

26% Syrah (Napa Valley)

10% Mourvedre (Contra Costa)

9% Alicante Bouschet (San Joaquin)

5% Petite Sirah (Napa Valley)

5% Carignane

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 16, 2013.

That's great! I'm really interested in any wines that are from the 1996 vintage (not necessarily just Cab, or wines from Cali for that matter). It's good to be able to ask ahead of time, so I'll be better prepared for whenever I do happen to come by some candidates. 


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