Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wine Snob: Wines from the 80s and 90s

When my uncle and aunt were here, they brought down a variety of wines from their wine cellar that they have collected over the years. Most of the wines are from California vineyards that they visited over the years. I tried two different red wines while they were here which were very old. I also learned a few things about judging red wines.

The first wine I tried was a 1993 Reserve Concannon Petite Sirah. I had a Limited Edition Concannon Petite Sirah 2006 a while ago and I thought it was a bit bland. The 1993 was certainly not bland. I liked it well enough, but it wasn't quite to my taste. It was a little thick-- full bodied and slightly viscous tasting. Dark purple, it tasted like blackberries and blueberries. It had a bright fruity taste with a light finish. Apparently Concannon was the first and one of the few vineyards in California that bottles Petite Sirah as a varietal (i.e. not mixed with other grapes). I have had one Petite Sirah varietal I liked, but this one was not my favorite, although it was certainly interesting.

The other wine I tried was a Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1985. My uncle acquired the wine back in the 1980s. Now, as it has aged for many years, it is both the oldest and probably the most expensive wine that I tried. Apparently, the wine was supposed to be past its prime. However, the wine not only tasted fabulous but apparently also was not past its prime. According to my uncle, you can tell that a red wine is past its prime if, looking at a glass of the wine from below, you can see a wide ring of brown around the top of the wine. This wine only had a slight tinge of brown around the edge of the top of the wine.
Silver Oak 1985
Furthermore, the taste was fantastic. The wine was very smooth. My aunt said that it tasted as though the the wine would have had a heavy tannic taste if it had been drunk while it was young, but the tannins relaxed over time. At the time we drank it, it was a nice medium-full body, with smooth flavor and mild tannins. It was a wonderful compliment to food and was a rich brick red color.

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