Skip to main content

I was at Caymus today for a tasting, and was quite surprised to find the '00 wines tasting very well. After all the neg. press I've been hearing regarding the '00 CA vintage as being no better than the '98 I was a bit elated. So...I asked our tasting room host what Caymus' opinions were on the vintage, and he had nothing but good things to say! He talked about a warmer growing season on average than in '99, no rain to ruin the crop, excellent yields of ripe fruit from the vineyards...etc., etc., Confused I don't know who's ****ting who anymore???? What are your opinions?


[This message was edited by dr.darkrichandbold on Jan 07, 2003 at 09:28 PM.]
Last edited {1}
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Bought a bottle of 2000 Hanna and Whitehall Lane
Cab. Decanted for 2hrs. The 99's are some of my favorites.
Very disappointed in both. Hanna was quite
young, disjointed and hot tasting. Whitehall
Lane was a little better, but very weak with
little structure or fruit.
This confirms what I've been reading and hearing.
WAIT FOR 2001!!!!!!!
FWIW at this point, the zins I've had have been huge let downs from the '99 vintage, I'm drinking a '00 Youngs right now and while it is pleasant there is no concentration. If you really want a drop try the '99 Karly Warrior Fires next to the '00, the difference is astounding. I have been generally disappointed with the cabs as well (though with really limited sampling). I thought the Viader was empty, the Justin even more so, and the several 10 to 20 ones I've hit at tastings were just passing grade wines. Now compared to the '98s I think it's a step up, as I've mentioned before, the vegetal flavors haven't been there for me yet so that is a definate plus. On the bright side wineries like Del Dotto are making wines that while they don't posess monster concentration or big walls of tannin (unless you get that one out of the lavishly expensive French oak barrel, yooowwwsaaa! Big Grin), are very fruity in a good way, show some complexity, are extremely approachable, and should be considerably more popular than the '98s. In fact to a lot of people, for right now consumption, '00 might be a favorite over '98 and '99 as the wines seem to lack the austerity the young '99s had. Their longevity might be another question, but if their good now, who cares as long as the price is reasonable. That will be the question for a lot of us. If the prices stay up, no doubt I don't need any with '01 just around the corner and '00 Bordeaux here and a celler full of '94-'99s. We'll be seein' a bunch of them hit the tasting room floors over the next several months so it will be interesting to see.
I think by putting the '00 next to '99 you will see that '99 is better, just like putting the '98 next to the '97. With that said, I believe '00s will be better than the '98s. As with any difficult/lesser vintages from anywhere, just have to pick and chose and you should be okay.

How 'bout a game of 8-ball for a nice bottle of Cab...
DRAB: Most wineries will snow the heck out of you when you ask a question like, especially Caymus (where they actually tell people that "we never have bad vintages at Caymus"). I have found some good stuff, but no great ones yet. Of course, most of the "heavy-hitters" have not been released yet......Personally, I get the feeling that 98 will turn out to be better.....
While the percentage of good wines to poor seems slightly higher than for '98, it is still a case of taste before buying. Most of the cabs seem pretty weak, while the Sonoma zins are hit and miss. Some, such as Seghesio Cortina and Old Vines, are as bold as ever, while some others are off the mark. I tried some Amador zins which were very interesting (lots of spicy notes), but I have never tried them before so have no grounds for comparison. I am planning on spending less this year, and mainly on '00 Bordeaux. If '01 for Napa and Sonoma is as good as it sounds like so far I want to be able to stock up again next year.

Forgive me for I have Zinned, and will again ...
After recently spending several days in Napa/Sonoma over the holidays my general impression of the 2000 vintage is that Cabs, Merlots & meritages are quite dry and somewhat tannic, a bit thin and lacking in fruit. Maybe they are still just too young but I had a very difficult time discerning any fruit flavors in most of the new releases we sampled. Almost all of the wines we purchased were 1999s. Most of the 2000s we have purchased to date are Syrahs & Rhone style blends from the Central Coast and Paso Robles. Those have turned out quite nicely.
I would choose carefully. The 98's that I have tasted recently have been pretty good-i.e. Merryvale Profile on Christmas eve. Delicious. The 00 vintage will need time to show it's true colors as the 98's are showing now. I will not be too adventerous and will save the $$ for the 01 vintage as others have said here.

"We can share the women, we can share the wine."
Well, I've already headed north for my '00 Red wine fix -- Washington! Instead of Cali, it will be the year for Washington Cabs, Merlot, and Oregon Pinots! I picked up some '00 L'Ecole Apogee and '00 Columbia Valley Cab and was pleasantly surprised. This, paired with my Bethel Heights PN's will keep me from going crazy with all of the rain out here.

It turns out I didn't have to go very far at all..

Go Pac NW!!!! Big Grin

While I had opinions on '99, I have not tried any '00 Cabs yet. I agree with the Stealthy one about the Zins--the 6 or so I've had = mediocre.

FWIW, those two varietals tend to correlate in vintage quality, though Cabs tend to do better because of the longer growing period.

I reserve opinion, but will likely use the year to save more $.

To compare '98 to '99 is a mistake. I consider '98s to be "uniquely mediocre" on the whole. Sure, there's lots of exceptions.
In some respects I prefer '99 to '97. '97 was overhyped IMO. Fruit forward; drinks well young, but in ten years I think I'd rather be drinking '99s.

But back to the original question. 2000 is generally not as good as '99.

One recent experience, fwiw, with Lake Sonoma Zins:
The '99 Russian River was outstanding. One of the best Zins I've ever had. The '99 Dry Creek was very good, but definitely the 2nd place wine of the two.
I'm assuming the Dry Creek plot is from a hotter area than the Russian River vineyard.
For 2000 it's the Dry Creek Zin that's outstanding, with the Russian River just being OK. I believe the RRV Zin needs a bit of time, also.

I think what that means is you may find some particular wine that you loved in '99, but don't in '00, and vice versa.
My feelings about the 2000 Cali vintage can't be separated from thoughts about the 2000 Bordeaux vintage, the 2001 Australian shiraz vintage, and the need to beat back pricing of cali cab. I am sipping the 2001 Henry's Drive Reserve shiraz as I write this and have also recently enjoyed the '01 Marquis Philips #9 and the '01 Oliver Hill. I know that QPR hunters will still research the 2000 Cali vintage, but if you have broad tastes in red wine, it might benefit the consumer to look abroad this year and hope that the growing domestic glut reins-in 2001 cali cab pricing. As someone whose job is currently threatened by off-shore technologists, I don't say "Boycott America" without pause. But California Wine producers and their middlemen are right up there with Enron execs in my book, so exercise all the leverage you have to curtail cab prices. Why not bypass Cali 2000 given that it's an off vintage? I'm open to counter arguments that favor the consumer.

P.S. Every 2000 Bordeaux < $30 and every 2001 shiraz < $30 I've tasted was unforgettable.

Let's roll...
Unlike 1988, one could cherry-pick the 2000 vintage and find some very nice wines. But buying wines from the vintage blind would be a losing proposition. Can't fault anyone for passing on the vintage as a whole, but I am very happy with my purchases of:

Jones Family
Peter Michael Les Pavots
Rudd Jericho and

But as I scan my inventory, I note that I have not purchased a single "off the shelf" Cabernet from a local wine shop. All of my 2000s were "special purchases", which is rare for me.
I tried no less than 50, 2000 California red wines in Napa in November.

I purchased exactly zero.

I did pick up a few 99's and a few of 01's based on tasting.

The only 00's I liked at all were the S. L. Cask 23 and the Duckhorn Reserve. Neither were worth the C-note plus they were asking.

Skip the vintage until they go on fire sale prices. Then skip them again.

"One may dislike carrots, spinach, beetroot, or the skin on hot milk. But not wine. It is like hating the air that one breathes, since each is equally indispensable."

Marcel Ayme`
I have found 1998 to be darker than 1998 with a little more extraction, but even more monolithic. In general, I have not liked 2000s at all. The bright spot has been for Santa Barbera, which produced some excellent 2000s (Ojai Roll Ranch Syrah quickly comes to mind).


"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields
I had the same type of thought and thread just the other day. My 2000 Cal Cab impression is that they have been simple, not deep wines and I made a promise that no more $$ would go there. I am with RedRed that Washington is a good place for some big reds in '00. My cellar has only 1 98 cab and 8 00's. 5 of the 8 are Whitehall Lane which was on fire sale at our local store.

I've had a few damn good 98's that I would advise people to pick up (especially when you see them at bargin prices). In fact I've had several bottles of each of these wines and find them to be delicious right now.

98 Etude Cab
98 Harlan Estate
98 Shafer Hillside
98 Insignia
98 White Cottage Howell Mountain Cab
Just about every Turley

While many of you may disagree with this list I urge you to give them a try.
As for the 2000's I have not been impressed with any of them at this point. Unfortunately I have to may in my cellar already (can't pass these up at these prices kinda deal). So I'll wait for a while and see if they come around. I have a little hope since Parker scored some of them in the low 90's. Some of the 2000's I have that I'd love to rid myself of are:

2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Napa merlot, Napa cab, Kenefick Ranch, Napa Valley claret
2000 Viader
2000 Pahlmeyer merlot
2000 Hartwell merlot
2000 David Arthur cab & merritggio

I'll get around to posting these on the buying and selling forum eventually but if anyone out there is interested, please let me know.

Originally posted by JimmyV:
Unlike 1988, one could cherry-pick the 2000 vintage and find some very nice wines. But buying wines from the vintage blind would be a losing proposition. Can't fault anyone for passing on the vintage as a whole, but I am very happy with my purchases of:

Jones Family
Peter Michael Les Pavots
Rudd Jericho and

But as I scan my inventory, I note that I have not purchased a single "off the shelf" Cabernet from a local wine shop. All of my 2000s were "special purchases", which is rare for me.

I was disappointed with both the 2000 Merus and the 2000 Jones in comparison to the 1999 versions. They were both good wines, but I felt the 1999's were outstanding. The 2000 was just 'good'.

For what it's worth...

I never claimed that the 2000s were as good (or better) than the 1999s. Only that I was "happy" with my purchases. Simply put, the wines I listed are very good, well worth drinking, and I would share them with any of you without the least bit of guilt. They will be early drinkers, and will allow me to hold on to my 97s, 99s, and 01s that much longer.
I have bought the 2000 Hanna Cab and the 2000 Jordan Cab. The Hanna was good, not great and probably never will be.

The Jordan on the other hand was very surprising. I drank it over three days and it seemed to get better as each day passed. It ended up being a very well balanced wine for being drunk so young. ie - it started out with good black fruit, a touch spicy, high acid and tannin. It ended up with good fruit moderate acid and tannin on the third day. BTW, I used a vacu-vin to seal the bottle each night. I may buy a couple more of this vintage, but I am really waiting for the '01.
I have had a handful of '00 Cabs but found them lacking mostly in the midpalate. For me that's not good. The '98's were harsher but with more body. The '00 Zins have been truly horrid. At current prices,I won't spend another dime on them.

The Cal Cab report:
Cellared '98's= 0
Cellared '99's= 12, though 2 Shafer HSS are on the way as of tonight
Cellared '00's= 0

Still, 14 bottles in 3 years is a representation of my opinion of the combined effect of quality and pricing of Cal. Cab wines over the last 3 years

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.