Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvigon 1993
Deeply colored (no surprise). Nose not as showy as the ’94, with a peppery influence, and a whallop of oak that I initially thought might be VA. Super wine, with almost unreal power, depth, extraction of dark fruit and concentration. Very dense, and quite tannic, though not green. Great length. EXCELLENT PLUS. MM. 10/99. Without question, the wine rocked like The Ramones on acid.
Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvignon 1994
Black color, edging to deep purple. Noticeable dill scents, though otherwise very complex, with charcoal and smoke mixing with all the exotic fruit. In the mouth, the palate is very big, with huge amounts of dark fruit. Great balance to the wine, it is
extremely concentrated, flashy, and had superior length. I liked this more that most everyone else. EXCELLENT PLUS MM. 10/99 No question about it, this wine rocked like Deep Purple.
Pride Mt. Reserve Cabernet 1995
Overtly black color. Buttery nose with a note of sweet vanilla. Monstrous tannins, but with enormous amounts of glycerin and fruit extract hiding behind. Imagine a blackberry liqueur reduced by one half. Extremely dense, with strong tannin throughout.
Loaded with toasty oak, this has the structure to last for a couple of decades. I expect that it will surprise a few people in a 2015 or so. EXCELLENT PLUS. MM. 10/99. The wine rocked the room like The Beasty Boys.
Pride Mt. Reserve Cabernet 1996
Two bottles in two nights, life is good. Extremely inky black in color, and quite glass staining. Enormously
structured, with an overtly oaky nose. Lavender scents abound as does the smell of a patch of blackberries on the vine. As deep as the Marianas Trench, and with a powerful dose of toast and minerals. Extremely tannic, and I can appreciate how some would not be able to cope with it. Personally, I feel that there is enough backing it up to bring it together. The finish was so long I was reminded of Nine Inch Nails, rocked like’em too. EXCELLENT PLUS. MM. 10/99. It rocked like, well, NIN.
Leonetti Cabernet 1992
I thought it would be a good opportunity to do a horizontal…. Darker still, and again, not brilliant. Voluptuous nose of
nutmeg, clove, vanilla, but now with a bit of earth-oriented scents as well that I don’t recall from previous bottles. Some cedar on the attack, with a rich, deep plummy, cherry focus. Soft acidity, and velvety tannins. Great stuffing, nice finish and broad. Also, mature, it’s time to get into these as well. EXCELLENT MINUS. MM
L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon 1994
More mature appearance than the ’93 Merlot, with almost some fade at the edge. Subtle nose, with a hint of herbs. Nice
attack, though not with the power expected. Medium plus in body, with a dark core of fruits, some fruitcake like flavors and tobacco sneaking in at the back. Decent length, but not up to previous experiences with this
wine. VERY GOOD MINUS. MM
L’Ecole No. 41 “Windrow Vineyard” Cabernet 1995
To this day, the only vineyard designated Cabernet ever released by the masters in Lowden, though
there are more due to be released in the future. Black in color with reasonable saturation. Effusive nose of violets, smoke, vanilla and coffee beans. Powerful attack, but a little clumsy at first. Full-bodied and deep, with great balance between acid and tannin, plus nice focus. Dark fruit oriented, and a long, long way from showing it’s best. Give it 3-5 more years, but that’ll be tough, considering how tasty it is today. EXCELLENT MINUS. MM
Pride Mountain Reserve Cabernet 1996
Brought by one of the guests that I had met previously, but didn’t know well. Nice treat. Opaque black, with
phenomenal saturation. Looked like cough syrup in the glass. More forward on the nose than previous encounters with the wine, with gobs of fruit, minerals, and a whallop of toasty oak. Killer attack, absolutely overwhelming the palate. Eventually the tannins that have hallmarked this wine to me show through loud and clear, but never dominate like they have
before. Very berry, very grapey, almost tasting like a barrel sample (a really good barrel sample). Powerful, yet suave at the same time. If I have any complaint, it would be that the tannins seem to become green towards the back. Deep, extracted, superbly concentrated and wonderfully flavorful. Unquestionably the best 1996 CalCab yet tasted, and certainly one I will be putting in the ’96 version of the Mother of All Cabernet Tastings in the spring. Huge finish, that I wished would’ve ended sooner, so that I could have tasted more of it. Beastly wine. OUTSTANDING MINUS. MM
Screaming Eagle 1992
Another black monster in the glass. Pretty effusive nose with a huge palate. Perfectly balanced, and tremendously concentrated, this wine with very ripe fruit flavors abounding was almost syrup-like. It stained the
glass more than any of the others did. Wearing its power like an Armani suit, the currant and cassis flavors almost overwhelm the senses. Quite long, and my favorite of the flight. I thought it was the ’95 Eagle, but in fact it was the original, the 1992 Screaming Eagle. EXCELLENT PLUS to OUTSTANDING MINUS . MM.10/99. It rocked like Failure.
Screming Eagle 1993
Black/purple in color, with dill and mocha notes flowing out of the glass. Almost as powerful as D, the wine showed a murkiness that caused me to expect the it was the ’92. Dark fruits with loads of blackberry liqueur,
with a mineral like note towards the back. Great concentration to this one. I was somewhat surprised to see that it was the 1993 Screaming Eagle. EXCELLENT PLUS to OUTSTANDING MINUS . MM. 10/99. It rocked like Tina Turner doing Nutbush City Limits.
Screaming Eagle 1994
Dark red/purple. Nose initially mute to start, then flowers come through with airing. Fairly high acid on the attack, with deep mineral flavors, amazing amounts of indecipherable dark fruits, loads of black cassis and a silky swath of tannins. Very dense, concentrated and heavy. A touch green at the back.. EXCELLENT PLUS to OUTSTANDING MINUS . MM. 10/99. This wine rocked like, well, Dokken!
Screaming Eagle 1995
Lightest in color of the bunch, yet still black in color, a testament to the flight. Mineral edges competed favorably with mocha and coffee on the nose. Almost Bordeaux-like in it’s presence, with a nice concentration
of fruit, high notes of toasty oak towards the back, and a delicious finish. Silkier than most of the others, with lots of character. Humbly, I thought it was a ’95 Bordeaux ringer, but it was, in fact, the 1995 Screaming Eagle EXCELLENT PLUS to OUTSTANDING MINUS . MM. 10/99. This wine rocked like Gusgus, never knowing what’s coming next.
Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1994
Darker red-purple/black. Lots of vanilla and oak scents came through right away on the nose, along with toast like aromas. Very grapey on the attack, and throughout. More tannic Screaming Eagle 1994, but not quite as long. Heavy handed minerals, and graphite edges co-mingle with huge amounts of fruit. EXCELLENT PLUS to OUTSTANDING MINUS . MM. 10/99. This wine rocked like SmashMouth.
Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
Great saturation to this one, completely black, edging to purple. An initial thought that there was VA didn’t return. Quite floral on the nose, with lots of toasty oak also. Slightly thinner in the mouth, with coffee flavors developing with the abounding dark fruit. Graphite and flower flavors showed at the back, and though very long, the overall impression of the wine was that it was softer. I picked this as a ringer, and it was in fact the 1995 Shafer Hillside. EXCELLENT PLUS to OUTSTANDING MINUS . MM. 10/99. This wine of course, rocked like Depeche Mode.
Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, 1997
The wine is very dark in color and is intensely extracted. The nose is a concentrate of black cherries, bell pepper and cassis. At first taste it appears young, with a little glass time it really sang. Big and bold with mouth-coating black fruit, muscular backbone and great French and American oak on the extremely long finish. The Best Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon since the epic 91′, maybe even better. Stock up on this one. $25.