Our group of 10 held a blind tasting of the first 6 vintages (1994
through 1999) of the Estate Cuvee on Nov. 2. Each taster ranked the
wines in order of preference from 1st to 6th. The wines below are
listed in order of group preference with total number of points (1 for
first, 2 for second, 3 for third, etc.) and the number of 1st, 2nd, 3rd,
4th, 5th, and
6th places indicated.
1994: (29 points; 4,0,2,1,3,0) Dark ruby color, ripe spicy zin and cabernet aromatics, round and soft on the palate. Hard to tell this was the oldest of the wines on the table. This should still consider to develop for a number of years.
1999: (29 points; 3,0,4,1,2,0) Medium dark ruby, violets, spice, pencil lead, aromatics, tastes young and tannic, with long nice finish. Some loved the intense balanced fruitiness and thus the 3 first place votes.
1996: (30 points; 0,5,2,2,0,1) Dark ruby, spicy cabernet and complex nose, black currant, round and full bodied, long finish, drinking very nicely right now.
1995: (32 points; 1,3,2,2,1,1) Very dark ruby, tight closed nose, some licorice, tarry licorice and some fruit on the palate, long finish.
1998: (39 points; 2,1,0,3,1,2) Dark ruby, very perfumey nose, lavendar, young cabernet, oak, tastes like a young tannic cabernet.
1997: (51 points; 0,1,0,1,3,5) Ruby, ripe jammy plum aromatics, tastes young and zin-like.
Overall impression was that the wines did not show a 6 year age difference, were clearly similar in style, and that they would continue to improve over the next few years. On my palate, the 98 was at a particularly showy stage that Estate Cuvees often reach at about 18 months after bottling. The 96 also was showing very well. The 97 was the most awkward, leaning a little too much toward the ripe fruity side. All of these notes are my own and I hope the other tasters add additional comments.
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Tasting Notes: Bliind Tasting of 1994-1999 Estate Cuvee
Everett Bandman, November 7, 2000