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Buying older USA Cab
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I'm currently looking to buy cabernet-sauvignon based wines from California made in the 90s. I've seen these:

Dunn Howell Mountain
Ridge Monte Bello
Diamond Creek
Château Montelena
Araujo Estate
Dominus
Mondavi

Is one better than the other ones ? A better vintages in that specific decade ? What is average price ?

Will be bought in the US then brought back to Canada (to be shipped in NY state)

dzitt


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Posts: 873 | Location: Montréal, Canada | Registered: Dec 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The '87 Mondavi Cabernet Reserve is great juice. The same can be said for the DC. I've enjoyed the '92 Dunn. All of these are outstanding and pretty much on an even keel imho. Good luck and please post what you purchase.


Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Posts: 5726 | Registered: Jan 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Have enjoyed (greatly) the 1992, 1994 and 1999 Dominus (Domini??? Wink) this year. If you can source the 1992 or 1999 at or near $100 with good provenance, go for it. The 1994 has been priced beyond my comfort level over the past few years...... Frown

PH
 
Posts: 15112 | Location: Maryland, USA (DC suburbs) | Registered: Nov 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The first producer you have listed (Dunn) is bar-none, my favorite. The remainder are in my Top-10, minus Araujo & Mondavi.

I have experience through many vintages of each of these (minus the Araujo, which I've only had once). I can tell you that it all comes down to personal preference. All of these producers make rock solid wine that will go the distance.

Dunn: I have never had a less than stellar bottle, to include "off vintages" like '98 & '03. Both the "Howell Mountain" & "Napa" Cabs are built to lay down for a LONG time. If I had to pick my favorite vintages of the "Howell Mountain," it would probably be:

- 1987 (My favorite vintage of this wine, and probably my favorite wine in general. Getting kind of tough to find, so scoop it up if you can find it for < $150)

- 1982 (Again, I don't see these come up very often, but they usually sell for around $150)

- 1985 (Easier to find, and can be had for less than $100)

- 1988 (This is exactly why I love this producer. This is an awesome wine, and can pretty easily be found for less than $60)

- 1992 (Arguably the best HM ever produced, and the price reflects. I think the '87 is better, but not by much It usually sells for $150-175, but I have seen it for as low as $120)

- 1994,'95,'96,'97 (Like many producers in California, Dunn had a hot-streak during these years. They're all awesome, but they all need time. We opened a '97 HM at an offline last month, and while spectacular, the wine needs (10) more years. Out of these, the '94 usually sells for the most, at around $120. The rest can be found for less than $100).

...I could go on!

Ridge MB:

Another wine with some serious shelf life. Paul Draper is a master of his craft, and the MB is his baby. Again, I've never had a bad bottle. My favorite vintages are probably the '85 & '91. These get kind of pricey ($175-200), but IMO, they're more than worth it compared to some of the overpriced gas-a-hol crap coming out of Napa today.

Montelena:

IMO, older Montelena Estate Cab (pre "Bottle Shock") is some of the best wine ever made in Napa. At another recent offline, a member brought a '91 Montelena Estate, and it's a contender for my wine of the year.

Diamond Creek:

Awesome stuff. I just opened an '86 "Volcanic Hill" last week (TN's posted), and it was gorgeous. When people say "They just don't make wines like this anymore," older Diamond Creek can always be in the conversation. Out of the bunch, the "Volcanic Hill" is my favorite, and the winery claims it is the longest lived. You can't go wrong with anything from the late '70's - early '90's, and they're often available for less than $100. They also make a "vintage dependent" Cab called "Lake Vineyard," which is both pricey & rare. I have yet to try one.

Dominus:

I love this wine, and it's definitely the most "Bordeaux-like" of the bunch. I'm not sure a bad vintage exists of this wine, to include the '98. We tasted the '97 & '98 side-by-side last month, and both were incredible. Most vintages are readily available for around $120-150. Also, most people will tell you that the '94 is the best Dominus ever produced, and an iconic example of Cali Cab. I have yet to taste it, so I can't comment. But, I have had the '92 (next in line for a lot of people), and it was great.

I better stop here... Big Grin
 
Posts: 1561 | Location: Murrieta, CA | Registered: Mar 14, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've had the '95, '97, and '99 Ridge Monte Bello the last 2 years, and they've been excellent and still on the upside. I think I like the '97 best.

In the same price range is the '97 Heitz MV. It's not in your list, but I think it's worthwhile.
 
Posts: 5135 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: Aug 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with Shane re; the Diamond Creek. I had a '94 Volcanic Hill last week and it was outstanding. Several others who tried it agreed that it was very good, but thought that the Diamond Creek from the 80s are even better.

The Ridge MBs are also excellent.

I tried the '96 Dominus a few weeks ago. It was $99. The nose was a bit off - it gave off a metallic/nickle smell that was not real pleasant. But that blew off after a while and the palate was better than the nose.

In addition to the wines that you identified, you might consider Etude. The Etude cabs from '94, '95 and '97 are all very good and drinking extremely well right now. I was able to purchase these during the past few months for $70-80 per bottle.

The '94 Dalle Valle is also a very nice bottle and worth picking up if you can find it. I was able to purchase several bottles for $110 each.
 
Posts: 21 | Location: Dallas, Texas | Registered: Jul 30, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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dzitt- is this making it easier or more difficult for you to decide? Basically, thay are all outstanding in their respective years. It's a win/win imho. Good luck choosing and many of us would avail ourselves to you to check for wine of the night. Smile


Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Posts: 5726 | Registered: Jan 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by dzitt:
I'm currently looking to buy cabernet-sauvignon based wines from California made in the 90s. I've seen these:

Dunn Howell Mountain... pass
Ridge Monte Bello... avoid '98 & '99
Diamond Creek... still young from the '90's
Château Montelena... '91 is very special
Araujo Estate... pass
Dominus... seek out '91, '92 & '94
Mondavi... '91 Reserve very nice

 
Posts: 30122 | Location: Dallas, TX & Santa Fe, NM | Registered: Feb 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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91 and 92 are two of my favorite CA cab vintages.

Thread drift: recently saw 87 and 88 Mondavi Reserve for what seemed a reasonable price. Worth a flier?


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Sometimes I read a thread and think we ran out of stuff to talk about like 4 years ago. ~spo
 
Posts: 2944 | Location: San Diego | Registered: Jan 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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They are drinking well right now. The 87 in particular drinks very well.

quote:
Originally posted by Red guy in a blue state:
91 and 92 are two of my favorite CA cab vintages.

Thread drift: recently saw 87 and 88 Mondavi Reserve for what seemed a reasonable price. Worth a flier?


GG
 
Posts: 275 | Location: Galveston, TX | Registered: Apr 11, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks. Smile


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Sometimes I read a thread and think we ran out of stuff to talk about like 4 years ago. ~spo
 
Posts: 2944 | Location: San Diego | Registered: Jan 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Anything said here helps. Looking right now through wine-searcher to find something to buy then ship it to NY state at a friend's familly place, then will be brought here after.

I thought that the chance to get a better wine from a good prevenance would have benn from the 90's as their are not too old, but some seems to be available in the late 80's at a good price. Even saw some good price for a 79 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Smile

Will try to get my hands on something before the end of the year...

dzitt


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Posts: 873 | Location: Montréal, Canada | Registered: Dec 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Will try to get my hands on something before the end of the year



Bon chance with your quest and please post what you find and how they drank.


Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Posts: 5726 | Registered: Jan 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
Have enjoyed (greatly) the 1992, 1994 and 1999 Dominus (Domini??? Wink) this year. If you can source the 1992 or 1999 at or near $100 with good provenance, go for it. The 1994 has been priced beyond my comfort level over the past few years...... Frown

PH

Indeed, and truly not worth that extra coin if you source the '92 with good provenance.
 
Posts: 15520 | Location: Montreal, QC | Registered: Feb 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DoktaP:
quote:
Will try to get my hands on something before the end of the year



Bon chance with your quest and please post what you find and how they drank.


Will do Smile

dzitt


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Posts: 873 | Location: Montréal, Canada | Registered: Dec 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by GalvezGuy:
They are drinking well right now. The 87 in particular drinks very well.

quote:
Originally posted by Red guy in a blue state:
91 and 92 are two of my favorite CA cab vintages.

Thread drift: recently saw 87 and 88 Mondavi Reserve for what seemed a reasonable price. Worth a flier?


Ditto. '87 Reserve is fantastic.


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."---Lindsay Bluth
 
Posts: 8882 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Is one better than the other ones ?

dzitt - do you not know any of these wines? Might you not want to try one or two before making a purchase you might really regret? Don't sink real money into something based on random recommendations of strangers!! Go out and buy a bottle or two and drink them. Even if the vintages aren't exactly the ones you're considering, you'll get an idea of the house style.


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2622 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
quote:
Is one better than the other ones ?

dzitt - do you not know any of these wines? Might you not want to try one or two before making a purchase you might really regret? Don't sink real money into something based on random recommendations of strangers!! Go out and buy a bottle or two and drink them. Even if the vintages aren't exactly the ones you're considering, you'll get an idea of the house style.


The problem where I am is the price and the availability of older vintages. What we have is usually twice the price, so I don't mind buyind one or two bottle to build an experience with older USA cab. Never had anything older than 95, but had many old Bordeaux, so if it could be compared, I will enjoy the purchase...

dzitt


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Posts: 873 | Location: Montréal, Canada | Registered: Dec 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You will not be disappointed.


Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Posts: 5726 | Registered: Jan 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Provenance is always the key to buying older wines. I haven't bought anything that old that I didn't get at or near release. However, I have had some GREAT wines from '87 and early 90's. The Montelena '87 and '91 were fantastic. The '91 Heitz Martha's Vineyard was one of the most impressive wines I've had......and I had over a case of that. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep my hands off of them. Sure wish I had saved a few. Don't overlook Spottswood as well in that era if you can find them.......great wines.
 
Posts: 3020 | Location: Rocky Mountains | Registered: Apr 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Foghorn Leghorn:
Don't overlook Spottswood as well in that era if you can find them.......great wines.


+1
 
Posts: 30122 | Location: Dallas, TX & Santa Fe, NM | Registered: Feb 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Any online retailer (or one that ships to NY state) that you would recommand more than an other ?

dzitt


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Posts: 873 | Location: Montréal, Canada | Registered: Dec 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Check out "cellaraiders.com"

They have an awesome inventory of older Cali stuff, and I have never had an issue with them.

Also, "JJ Buckley" has a fairly decent selection and competitive price points.

A lot of people are up & down about "Winebid," but I have had nothing but good experiences with them.

* +1 on the Spottswoode.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shane T.,
 
Posts: 1561 | Location: Murrieta, CA | Registered: Mar 14, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Saw a 1979 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace on Cellaraiders website for 85$. Can't find a way to estime the shipping cost to NY state though.

Does it seem to be a deal or a great oppotunity ? 79 is my birth year...

dzitt


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Posts: 873 | Location: Montréal, Canada | Registered: Dec 19, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sorry deleted; wrong thread.


"The hardest thing to attain ... is the appreciation of difference without insisting on superiority" George Saintsbury
 
Posts: 1587 | Location: DC Suburbs, Potomac MD. | Registered: Dec 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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