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Cabernet Day 2013: 1996 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon

August 29, 2013 10 comments

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!

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