TN's: The Eighties have Returned (Scubarex offline- 20+ wines)

Scubarex decided to throw together an offline for some of the Chicago Wine Mafia at his home last Saturday. The theme he chose was the 1980's. He graciously opened up his cellar and pulled out 20+ wines from the era including some real gems. Music from the decade set the mood. Only Otis though dressed for the occasion by pulling out one of his narrow ties for the night. Scuba also defrosted some meat he had in his feezer for the last 25 years (actually he made a couple very nice roasts- beef and buffalo).

Here are the 1980 era wines which were poured together with my TN's (a few recent vintage wines made an appearance as well but I am not going to include them in this thread):

WHITES- Not too many 1980 era whites on hand.
1989 Josmeyer Gewurztraminer Alsace Grand Cru Hengst- One of my contributions. I've had this before and it is not my style. Here is my original TN. 84 points this time.

1989 Bert Simon Riesling Serriger Herrenberg Auslese- Another of my contributions. I recently had the 2003 vintage of this wine and was impressed. This was an outstanding wine as well. Sweet but not dessert level. Smooth with notes of pear and slate. Good complexity. 90-91 points.

BORDEAUX- These were a bit disappointing and not showing well as a group. All Scubarex wines.
1982 JP Mouiex St. Emilion- Very light with little fruit left. Some cherry on the finish. Over the hill. 78 points.

1982 JP Mouiex Lalande de Pomeral- Musty nose. A bit lackadaisacal but it had some character left. Muted tannins with currant notes. Light body. 82 points.

1982 Chateau de Costis Bordeaux- No appellation designation. A little funk on the nose. Sharp bitter notes with red fruit. 79 points.

1982 Chateau Haut-Plantey St. Emilion- Definitely a step up from the previous wines. Smooth red and black fruit t=notes with moderate tannins. Drinking very well. 88 points.

1981 Chevalier-Lascombes Medoc- No tannins left. This seemed to be falling apart to me. Juicy. Soft. Not much character left but still hanging on. 80 points.

1982 Chateau La Tour de Mons Margaux- The best of this group. A mushroomy and earthy nose. Notes of cherry and cassis. Integrated tannins. Medium body. 90 points.

CALIFORNIA CABS- The cream of the night as far as I was concerned. Clearly the best producers by reputation. They are in no particular order. All Scubarex wines except for the Freemark.
1984 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Napa- Brickish red color. This still had firm tannins and a fine fruity core. Cassis and blackberry notes. 89-90 points.

1989 Mayacama Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Melin Vineyard- Nice red color . Notes of cocao and berry with an earthiness and chewy texture. 88-89 points.

1982 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley- Some of the other CWM at this tasting liked this better than I did. A little musty with stone fruit notes and red berry. Medium bodied. Faded a little on the finish. 87-88 points.

1985 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley- I thought this was the equivalent of the 1982. A darker red color. Mellow fruit with moderate tannins. 87 points.

1989 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Sycamore Vineyard- This is the 3rd time I have had this wine. I bought a case of it 2 months ago for $9 per bottle. This is holding up very well. Dark red color without any signs of age. Full rich fruit with some spice and oak notes. 89-90 points.

1985 BV George de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Private Reserve- I thought this was still fine but on its way down. Showing definite signs of bricking. The tannins were dry. Notes of currant, coriander and licorice. Not up to the 95 points WS gave this in 1991 and 2000 in my opinion. 90 points.

1982 Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon Napa- This was holding up great and was one of my favorites of the night. Deep crimson red color. Smoket fruit. Medium to full bodied. Long finish. 92+ points.

1985 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District- The top Cab of the night as far as I was concerned. Ripe fruit notes of raspberry and black cherry with wild game. Complex with a long finish. 93-94 points.

1988 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma- Probably slightly past its peak but I still liked it very much. Especially for its fresh aroma. A medium red color. Sharp red berry and melon notes. Subtle tannins. 90 points.

1985 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Napa- Another wine which held up well. No signs of bricking. Currant and smoke aromas. Firm tannins and a good core of fruit with some chocolate notes. 88-90 points.

1984 Storybrook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Napa- Very different than the bold fruity high alcohol Zins most board members drink today. Past its prime but still very drinkable. 87 points.

1987 Bookwalter Late Harvest White Riesling- From Washington state. 10.4% alcohol. An inky smell (Otis mentioned mimeograph paper). Brown carmel color. Creamy fruit with vanilla and apricot. Rich texture. I liked it. 90-91 points.

1981 St. Georg-Hof Riesling Schweicher Annaberg Eiswein- I'd never heard of this producer from the MSR. A gold color. Notes of peach nectar, apple and other white fruit. Lacked acidity. One dimensional. Overtly sweet. 74 points.

1982 Quady Zinfandel Port Amador County- A little too sweet and syrupy for my palate but not bad overall. Still had a gripping bite. Notes of blackberry and raisin. 84 points.

1985 Dow Vintage Port- From 375ml. 2nd time I have had this. Notes of candied cherry, brandy liquer and black fruit. Silky finish. Drinking well. Still no sign of the volatile acidity problem mentioned by James Suckling. 91-92 points.

A first class evening Scuba and a magnanimous gesture opening up so many of the wines you have stored for the last 20+ years.

Original Post
It was, indeed, very generous of senor Scube to open these wines. When someone else is so generous, it is hard to find fault with anything... the wine, the food, the company.

My favorites of the night were the two Jordans. They differed immensely, with the 1984 being a little tighter and less focused than the 1982. The 1982 seemed, shortly after being opened, to be full of life... a real plummy beauty. However, it began to wilt under the heat and pressure of such prodigous palates as VM, Otis, R2. I think it is just past maturity, but still a fine wine. I'd give the 1984 about 88pts and the 1982 91pts.

I, too, thought the Ch. La Tour de Mons (Margaux) to be showing the best among the Bordeaux. The "medium body" that VM refers to seems pretty typical of Margaux and is what I expect from that part of the Medoc.

As for the sweeties, none really did anything for me except, of course, the 1985 Dow. The CA port was limip and unsophisticated.

The Dow could have used decanting, but was still a dynamite drink. Thanks for opening that, Scube!! I understand that VM polished it off! Ouch.... my head hurts thinking about that!
Originally posted by R2-D2:
Thanks Scuba ...

Guys, I got extremely sick yesterday evening and suspect Food Poisoning. Has anyone else felt ill since Saturday night? If not, Sbarro is the culprit.

Sure it wasn't that hefty gulp of Ch. Scubarex Spit Bucket Cuvee blend that you took?!

Seriously, though, it must have been the Sbarro.
Thanks Scubarex! What a great night...

For me, the top three wines were:
1 - BV GdL
2 - Shafer HSS
3 - the '82 Jordan

The surprise of the night for me was the Hess. I couldn't believe how young this wine looked and how well it had held up.

Thanks again Mr & Mrs Scubarex for hosting.
R2D2 - Sorry to hear you're stomach went south, my youngest son came down with something, and was sick Sunday night. No reports of anyone else suffering ill effects. Dude-just walking past Sbarro and smelling it makes me sick.

Haggis - It was I who tasted the swill.

VinoMe - Correction, the other Jordan was an 1985, not 1984.

I dug-

82 Jordan
85 Shafer
88 Chateau St Jean
81 Chevalier-Lascombes Medoc (upon opening, fell apart quick)
84 Groth

For my next GTG, we will be tasting only future vintages of unreleased wines as I gather barrel samples from various sources...(jk)
Originally posted by R2-D2:
Thanks Scuba ...

Guys, I got extremely sick yesterday evening and suspect Food Poisoning. Has anyone else felt ill since Saturday night? If not, Sbarro is the culprit.

So Sorry you were not feeling well. We haven't heard of any other cases of illness. However, one of the triplets did get sick late Sunday night (around 10pm). Perhaps you carried something in and didn't actually know it until Sunday? Hope you are feeling much better today.

I would like to thank everyone that came to the house for our little retro party. It was a pleasure having all of you here. It was also a treat not having to prepare all the food and being able to taste some mighty fine appetizers and sides as well as the featured wines. John, I would still like to get the recipe for the bruchetta you made. MaiRan, your mushrooms and pinenuts were the perfect accompniment to the meat. I think I polished off the leftovers myself...Wink. Chris, what can I say. Bravo to the zucchini and the tomato/spinach dishes. Otis, the appetizer certainly was a huge hit with the children as well as the adults. Same with the cheese and grapes, Chris and Amy. Rick, your choc. bread pudding was to die for. Smile
May I say it was also a pleasure having your children, Otis and John and Patrice. They are beautiful children and I hope we can see them again sometime.

Thank you again to all our guests. We throughly enjoyed the entire evening with you.

((Amy, I talked to Stacy and she was floored, to say the least. She said to say hello and she can't wait to mention our meeting to her brother. Smile It is times like this that we are reminded how small this world really is.))

Thank you so much for a wonderful evening of '80s nostalgia, great food and wine, and jocularity.

The rib roast was killer (in a good way - my GI tract is performing like a champ). The kids all had a great time. R2D2's dessert (which I guess was a recipe from kybo) was sublime. The only disappointment was that no one spiked their hair and Vino Me forgot to wear his Miami Vice sportcoat and MC Hammer parachute pants. The Rubik's Cube centrepiece was brilliant, though!

Some general comments on the wines:

1) In general, I thought the 85 Cali's were the best of the lot, but they seem to have lost about 50% of their fruit since they hit their apex around 1992 to 1995. I remember being blown away by the ripeness of that vintage from release through the 10-year mark.

2) My favorite wines were the '89 Bert Simon, '85 Shafer HSS, '85 BV de Latour, '88 Ch. St. Jean, and the '89 Freemark Abbey Bosche.

3) I think the style of winemaking changed significantly during the 1990s. Winemakers in Napa are going for more extraction and ripeness than they were in the '80s. I have no idea which style will age better over the long haul.

4) As I learn more about aging California Cabs, I am finding that my "wheelhouse" of optimal appreciation seems to be between 7 and 11 years from the vintage date. The numbers "7-11" also serve to remind me that it's all a bit of a crap shoot.

5) The '82 Bordeauxs were a treat. Very balanced and sedate, with a dignified smoothness about them. None of them grabbed your attention, but all could be consumed with a comforting easiness.

6) Next chapter of the learning experience will take place on November 24th at the Chicago Wine School for their annual "Aged California Cabs" class. I'm flying solo if anyone wants to be my wingman.

Thanks again Scubafamily! Smile


Hmm... Otis... what time of day is the wine school thing? Shoot me an email...

Scubawife!! You're hooked now, aren't you?! Yes, I put some port in the mix, along with a dash of soy sauce (and the requisite gobs of black pepper). If you wanted, you could thicken the whole thing up with some flour, or leave it more...mmmm... juicy.
Originally posted by Vino Me:
Well this is a very bad precedent. My wife was already asking me last night if I saw that Scubawife posted. Next thing you know she will want to post and that would seriously take away from the time she can devote to the grass and snow.



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