Wine Talk

Snooth User: bobalob

Does an old world California Cabernet exist?

Posted by bobalob, Sep 22, 2008.

name a few_


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 22, 2008.

Hi cdean,

My first post here but certainly not my last. Your question is an interesting one. There are very few California Cabernets that truly mimic old world styles simply becuase the climates are so very different. Certain producers, suck as Mayacamas and Diamond Creek have produced wines that are a bit leaner and more transparent than more typical new world producers and both utilize traditional techniques.

Many older California Cabernets have aged well and resemble aged Bordeaux more and more with each passing year. Examples include the Mayacamas and Diamond creek wines but also late 70's and early 80's vintages from producers such as Burgess, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, and even Robert Mondavi.

Finally one avenue worth exploring would be to seek out wines from less acclaimed vintages. The warmth of the typical California growing season greatly influences the style of the wine made. Cooler, problematic vintages frequently disappoint those who are used to and seek out more typical California wines but often resemble the wines from Europes cooler climes.

I will be doing some in-depth tastings this fall on just these types of wines so stay tuned for more notes and updates!

Reply by Philip James, Sep 22, 2008.

I cant answer this as well as Greg, but wanted to add some more general comments to the discussion.

Firstly, its not in style to produce a lean wine from California. As a result very few big wineries are even trying. Your best bets are either to look for a year that produced a poorer wine, as you are likely able to find good deals, and the style may be more to your tastes. The other alternative is to turn to the more fringe winemakers, some of whom are fed up with the obsession with fat juicy wines and are trying to make wines with different character.

I cant help with specific names unfortunately.

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