Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cliff diving.

Erm, not the Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon one would usually find me quaffing, but an Oakville AVA Cabernet nonetheless.  This is another of Vinomaker's finds from our wine cellar and, as is becoming a very definite trend around here, he has no idea how he happened to be in possession of this particular wine.  What is known is that this bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon hailing from Vine Cliff Winery is a product of the stellar 1997 Napa Valley vintage.  Vine Cliff is located on a rather historic (for California) piece of property above the Silverado Trail in Oakville. Originally part of a Mexican land grant given to George C. Yount (for whom Yountville is named), the Sweeney family are the current owners and have been making wine there since 1985. The winery is considered a boutique winery, as they make less than 10,000 cases per vintage.
Good vintage here, good vintage there.  Blah, blah, blah!  All very well and good, but how did it taste?  Well, that depends on who was drinking it.  Vinomaker really liked it.  Me?  Less so.  I just couldn't get past the oak, lots and lots of the stuff.  Nice body and texture, but this wine is not aging very well.  In my estimation, this wine was overly oaked and out of balance back in 1997 and it's not like it's going to balance itself anytime soon: it's teetering on the edge.


Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Lots of history here, I almost started to get the "picture" going when the truncated trail ended talentedly with (wine) "teetering on the edge."
When it comes to writing, I've been one of your biggest fans :-)
So often I see this tension not only between intensity of oak, but of age, and knowing that women have a better sense of taste (as a rule), I'll trust your evaluation.
Have you had any of their cabs that are of a more recent vintage?

Vinogirl said...

NHW: Thank you. Yes, you always have had kind things to say about my mental meanderings put to paper, (or laptop, as is the case).
No, have not had a more recent vintage, but I would predict that they continue to use a high percentage of new oak barrels every vintage. Too much oak does not bode well for elegant aging in my opinion.