(e.g. 1970 Heitz or BV Latour, 1941 Inglenook Cask or BV Latour, 1955 Martini Special Selection -- these are my personal benchmark wines for California Cab -- nothing has come close to these wines at their peaks)
Stags Leap "Fay" Vineyard, Freemark Abbey "Bosche" Vineyard, and the Robert Mondavi Special Reserve (Grapes from To-Kalon Vineyard) are also three consistently superior Napa cabernets.
posted on 05/02/2002 10:46:27 PM PDT
The wines you mention are excellent, in good years even perhaps great. However, in my experience, and to my palate, those wines do not define what California Cabernet, at its very highest level, is capable of. For me, the '41's and '70's I mentioned represent the absolute epitome of California Cabernet. While the styles differ, and my preference between them has changed over the years, at their peak (say around 1960-65, but holding through about 1975) the 1941 BV Latour and 1941 Inglenook Cask represent a magic marraige, wines so great that they are absolutely unforgetable. No California Cabs I have drunk have been nearly so complete or complex wines. The definitive standard for 'Rutherford Dust'. Still distinctive fruit in the aroma as late as 1985! The only direct comparison for me in terms of equally superlative wines are the '28 and '29 Lafites and Latours that seemed still fresh and alive (though clearly complex and matured) in the 1960's. The '70 Heitz Martha's Vineyard and '70 BV Latour came very close to the '41s up through the late '80s, but have not aged as well past 20. My last few bottles of '70 BV Latour will have to be drunk soon.
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