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I attended a tasting 2 nights ago featuring 8 Californian Cult Wines. The wines included the following:

1. Screaming Eagle 1998
2. Bryant Family Vineyard 1997
3. Harlan Estate 1996
4. Araujo Estate Wines, Eiesle's Vineyard 1994
5. Dalla Valle, Maya 1990
6. Heitz Cellar, Martha's Vineyard 1985
7. Ridge, Monte Bello 1968
8. BV, Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1968

It was a real treat to be tasting all these wines in one night.

My WOTN (and that of most tasters) was the Bryant 1997. It was by far the best wine of the night. Beautiful nose, wonderful balance, some sweetness, nice concentration and lots of fruit, wonderful finish as well! Worthy of the 100pts rating by RP and 99 pts by WS! The best wine I have ever drunk! It just tasted so perfect in the mouth!

My order of merit for the night was:

1. Bryant 1997
2. Harlan 1996
3. Araujo 1994
4. Heitz 1985
5. Dalla Valle 1990
6. Screaming Eagle 1998
7. Ridge 1968
8. BV 1968

The BV was in my opinion past the drink-by date. The Ridge was surprisingly still a nice drink. Screaming Eagle was a disappointment (98 was not a good vintage?). Harlan Estate was nice but nothing really special.
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I've had 2 of these recently. The '98 Screaming Eagle was quite concentrated, but showed just a hint of the green, unripe tannins fairly prominent in many '98s. Still an excellent wine, but not to die for. Time will tell if the green stuff mellows out or not.

The '94 Araujo we had last month as part of a blinded '94 Cult Cab tasting was very tight and closed down, not giving up much throughout a 3-4 hour period. I don't think it's over the hill, just sleeping deeply. Then again, it was up against a bunch of other superb '94 Cabs, and was easily beat out by the '94 Harlan and '94 Shafer Hillside. Interestingly, the '94 Screaming Eagle came in more or less tied with the '94 Bryant, Colgin, Dalla Valle Maya, and Galleron. Each was distinctive, and each seemed to have one or two advocates for 1st, 2d, or 3d place wine of the night, but the Shafer and Harlan left the rest of them behind in the voting.

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