by Fred McMillin
for June 15, 1999
Age Inexpensive Reds?
"Price can be a rough indicator of ageability,
although it isn't always reliable. A very cheap
wine...is probably not intended for aging.
The best California wine for aging is Cabernet
...Larry Walker, San Francisco Chronicle, 1993
The Rest of the Story
How would two years in the cellar affect a 1993,
$11 Rutherford Ranch (California) Cabernet Sauvignon?
The Comparison of Two Bottles of the 1993
|| Highly recommended in its
The 1996 Tasting
The ninth WineDay column we ever published was devoted
to this tasting. It read in part, "has sweet-oak
backdrop for pleasing cherry flavors."
The 1999 Tasting
The wine finished 6th against 19 rivals. The
five that beat it were all much more expensive,
AVERAGING $28 a bottle. Clearly, the additional
age had not degraded this Cab. The cherry flavors
were milder; the oak was more pronounced. Overall,
the panel rated the more mellow wine with its
new aromas a bit higher than they did two years
earlier. It is definitely HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
1993 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Rutherford Ranch, St. Helena, CA
Phone—(707) 963-5251, FX (707) 963-0834
Contact—Virginia Van Asperen
Price—$11 when released about three years ago
Founders—Ernie and Virginia Van Asperen (pictured)
Wine historian Charles Sullivan tells of a California
Cab, a 1974, that "developed an almost legendary
reputation in the 1980s among collectors."
Who produced it? Ernie Van Asperen.
Note: The first tasting was described in the
Jan. 23,1997 WineDay article, "A Second Label to Remember".
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history
for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine
courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.
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