We've collected numerous birthyear wines for son Alec. We also have a deep enough cellar so as to hold some wines from the birthyear of fiance and future daughter-in-law, Viviana. This was an occasion to do a combination tasting of wine from each vintage.
Silver Oak and Freemark Abbey are two of our favorite producers, from whom we hold several vintages and labels, however we don't necessarily hold labels of the same vintage from each. This provided an evening of celebration, and a comparison tasting or two Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vintage wines of almost equal age, from two sequential vintages.
Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1990
We have some special large format (six liter Imperials) birthyear bottles of Silver Oak (Bonny's Vineyard) for the gala event next year, so this is a warm up for the occasion with the Estate bottled label from the greater region, albeit not the extraordinary rare single vineyard designated label. We also served Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard from the 1982 vintage at our eldest son Ryan's wedding, as well as several other birthyear special wines.
Our twenty nine year old bottle was well preserved with a perfect label and foil with a fill level half way in the neck, reduced less about 3/8 inches from being perfect fill. The cork was almost perfect although it did break in half on opening being slightly dry, but I used a conventional corkscrew. Were I at home, I most certainly would've used my customary two pronged cork puller, which I am confident would have extracted both corks in whole.
Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, this had bright ruby garnet color, very slight bricking at the rim, with the black cherry and black berry fruits having given way to the predominant signature nose and flavor of infused sweet oak layer for which the brand is known and famous.
The black cherry and black berry fruit was subdued, somewhat Bordeaux like with accent by notes of spice, black tea and tobacco leaf with tangy acidity and soft moderate tannins on the lingering tangy finish.
While past its prime, apex of its drinking window, this will not improve any further with aging, but is holding its own and will likely remain at this level of its drinking window for a couple more years. I didn't decant this but served it straight from the bottle. I might do the same again the next time.
RM 89 points.
Freemark Abbey Bosche' Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1991
This is one of our favorite labels of which we hold numerous vintages dating back several decades. We acquired a case of this single vineyard designated label back around this period from the producer and picked up select bottles from nearby vintages to fill out our horizontal collection.
We picked up some of these bottles during our visit to the Estate over the years including select bottles from their library collection for special occasions. We're longtime fans of Freemark Abbey, witness by the fact we hold bottles going back to the early eighties. Our Freemark Abbey experience highlights include our visit to the winery during our Napa Wine Experience 2009, when wine buddy and fellow 'Pour Boy' Bill and I had a fun time touring their library cellar with Cellar Manager Barry Dodd (Bill and Barry, right).
That day, we purchased two aged vintage selections - 1974 and 1978 commemorating our anniversary years, which we tasted that evening across the road at Graystoke Manor at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in St Helena.
Today, the Bosche' family continues his tradition of grape growing at the meticulously cared for vineyard near the town of Rutherford. Freemark Abbey has proudly produced outstanding Cabernet Bosche' wines since 1970." Signed Ted Edwards, Partner and Winemaker.
Tonight, this wine showed more fruit and was aging more gracefully than the similarly aged, one year older Silver Oak. It showed better than recollections recorded at earlier tastings.
Like the Silver Oak, our twenty eight year old bottle was well preserved with a perfect label and foil with a fill level half way in the neck, reduced less about 3/8 inches from being perfect fill only a mm lower than the Silver Oak. Like the Silver Oak, the cork was almost perfect although it did break in half on opening being slightly dry, but I used a conventional corkscrew. Were I at home, I most certainly would've used my customary two pronged cork puller, which I am confident would have extracted both corks in whole.
Tasted at Freemark Abbey vertical tasting - http://unwindwine.blogspot.com/2012/12/freemark-abbey-cab-vintage-horizontal.html.
In 2012 I wrote, "This bottle was suprisingly lean and austere, not what I recall from this Napa vintage generally, but revealed such against the '92 which showed markedly differently. Garnet colored with a brickish rim, this was light bodied with properly balanced but slightly tart black cherry and black berry fruits accented by tobacco, tea, cigar box and leather on a short modest short finish." Perhaps bottle variation relative to tonight's tasting?
Tonight this showed best of the tasting: Bright garnet colored, medium full bodied, full forward vibrant red berry and cherry fruits accented by tangy spice, tea, hints of cedar and notes of cigar box with moderate tannins on a long lingering finish.
RM 90 points.