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by Fred McMillin
for June 2002

Wine

 

About affordable Cabs. . .
TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE?

Prologue

"There are many affordable reds that can improve by holding them one to five years."
          Mark Mazur
          THE WINE ENTHUSIAST

"After a decade of wine research, I know it is simply not true that all wines get better over time. In fact, most wines are meant to be aged no longer than it takes to bring them home from the store."
          Karen MacNeil-Fife
          THE SUNSET MAGAZINE

The Rest of the Story

So are the affordable Cabernet Sauvignon in my cellar improving or not? To find out, I paired each of 10 recent-vintage California Cabs with a similar bottle four or five years older. My panel tasted them blind and here is. . .

The Winner of Each Match

Note: The highest-rated winner is listed last. That is, the further you read, the better the wine.

10th - YOUNGER VINTAGE 1998 Frei Brothers Reserve, Alexander Valley $24
 
9th - YOUNGER VINTAGE 1998 Barefoot Reserve, Sonoma County $17
 
8th - YOUNGER VINTAGE 1997 Charles Mitchell Reserve, El Dorado $23
 
7th - YOUNGER VINTAGE 1998 William Hill, Napa Valley $22
 
6th - OLDER VINTAGE 1995 Charles Mitchell, Sierra Foothills 18
 
5th - YOUNGER VINTAGE 1998 Chateau Souverain, Alexander Valley $20
 
4th - YOUNGER VINTAGE 1999 Bogle, California $12
 
3rd - OLDER VINTAGE 1995 Guenoc, North Coast $15.50
 
2nd - OLDER VINTAGE 1993 Guenoc, Lake County $15
 
1st - YOUNGER VINTAGE 1998 Folie á Deux Private Reserve, Napa Valley $36
 

Conclusion

Hm-m-m. The older Cabs won only three out of ten matches. It's time to drink 'em!

 

Research Assistance—Diane Bulzomi

 
 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 


 

 
 

This page created June 2002

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