Home > Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Experiences, wine ratings > Cabernet Day 2013: 1996 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Day 2013: 1996 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon

I’m glad we have all those Grape days – Grenache Day, Chardonnay Day, Cabernet Day, Tempranillo Day (it is also great when those grape days are not overlapping, as Cabernet Day and Tempranillo Day had in 2011). Not that we need an extra reason to have a glass of wine – no, we don’t. But when you have a Grape day to celebrate, that greatly helps with the difficult oenophile issue – what do I open tonight? What do I open, what do I open… Shiraz? No, just had it two days ago… Rioja? Well, may be, but I have only a few bottles… Zinfandel? Not in the mood for… Okay, I’m sure you got the point, and being there, done that uncountable number of times.

When you plan to celebrate a “grape day”, you are done with a good half of the problem – you know what type of wine it should be. As today is a Cabernet Day, my decision was very simple. Need a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, preferably ready to drink. I actually have very few bottles of Cabernet which I consider to be ready to drink (my criteria – 10+ years of age). My choice for today? 1996 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Library Release.

Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon

Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon

Burgess Cellars is located on outskirts of Howell Mountain in Napa, and it had being producing wine since 1972. In 1980, the winery started a Library program for its Cabernet Sauvignon wine – each year, a 500 cases or so are put aside in the wine cellar, to let  the wine age in the ideal conditions. The wines are released to the consumers after 10 or 15 years of ageing, when they are actually ready to drink. The wine we opened for the Cabernet Day was the part of this exact Library Release.

Before I will share the tasting notes with you, let me lament for a moment about the wine being an amazing memory facilitator. We shared the bottle with my wife, as we usually do, and once we looked at the label, one of the first thoughts was “ahh, 1996 – this is when we first met!”. My own recollection later on was of an exciting discovery of Wine Til Sold Out (WTSO) – this was one of the very first wines I ordered from WTSO in 2010 at an amazing discount (MSRP: $69, WTSO price: $22.50). Wine’s capability to tune you into the “memory lane” is nothing short of spectacular and truly fascinating. Now, let’s get back to the wine.

1996 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Library Release Nape Valley (13% ABV; 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc) – Wine was poured into the decanter, but rather to prevent sediment from getting in the glass, not so much for breathing. Dark ruby color, bright enough for 17 years old wine. Dark fruit, some dust and plums on the nose, raspberries and cherries on the palate, high acidity, tannins on the finish. Doesn’t show as typical California Cabernet, rather closer to the Claret style, with high pitch acidity and dialed back fruit. As the wine was breathing, it showed a bit more of the fruit with the warm notes. Drinkability: 8-

There you have it, my friends – my Cabernet Day experience. What was yours? Cheers!

  1. August 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

    So I wonder what significance it holds that my son was born on Cabernet Day?

    • talkavino
      August 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

      only you can answer this question! All the mementos and connections created by wine are personal – this is the beauty of it…

      • August 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        I’ll have to ponder. It’s new information for me (and I’m a slow thinker). 🙂

  2. August 30, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Ha I have that problem all the time.. which to drink which to drink!

  3. August 31, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Cabernet day, I could get into that. Never had wine from Burgess, will try it!

    • talkavino
      August 31, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Burgess makes good wines, and they are generally reasonably priced – definitely worth trying.

  4. August 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I love this wine, and wrote about it here http://wp.me/p125DB-69
    I totally agree with the Claret style judgement, a dead ringer I reckon.

    • talkavino
      August 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

      I like your write up! Yes, this is the wine : ) I think this was my last bottle. I still have a few of 1997, which even the winery is sold out of. And I still upset about missing out on 1995 ( was sold out at WTSO by the time I reacted to the offer…)

  5. August 31, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I have always been happy with Burgess even though I am generally not that big of a fan of their predominant varieties, and you’re right–pretty good bargains (especially at that WTSO price!).

    • talkavino
      August 31, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      I had a few good Cabs from them, and I constantly miss out on their Syrah at WTSO…

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