Thursday, November 24, 2011

Conn Creek Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 1980

Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, Conn Creek Cabernets received consistently good reviews from the Wine Advocate, the California Grapevine and other wine newsletters. Yet the wine was always modestly priced, much less expensive than Caymus, Jordan, Diamond Creek, Stag's Leap, Heitz, Inglenook Reserve or Mondavi Reserve. I bought the wine regularly (about $10 a bottle) and have been rewarded ever since. This 1980 was brought up from the cellar to help celebrate my daughter's 31st birthday.

Very deep and dark, almost opaque. Really looks and smells like a young Cabernet. The nose is classic Napa Cabernet--black currants, dark plums and cassis. Many at the table say "raisins" because the wine is ripe, but no riper than to be expected from from a Napa Cab. Full bodied and very New World in style, but the oak has integrated nicely and the wine is still showing plenty of well defined fruit flavors. Well balanced, complex finish.

You won't find many Napa Cabs on the market today that will provide as much pleasure--even those selling for $100 or more. Yet 1980 Conn Creek still goes for about $20 a bottle at auction, and KL Wines in California is selling magnums (1500 ml) for $99. At either price, this wine is a bargain. Wish I had bought even more.

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