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Grgich Hills Estates has been one of the pillars of the Napa Valley since it opened in 1977, one year after founder Mike Grgich helped put the region on the map during the famous Judgement of Paris. This seductive Cab Sauv proves that the winery’s Napa-shaping presence is as strong as ever. Deep notes of blackberries and black licorice are perfectly tempered by a suggestion of allspice, while velvet-smooth tannins lead the wine to a elegantly long finish.
Napa probably wouldn’t be Napa without Mike Grgich. After all, his skilled winemaking played a key role in the production of the legendary Chateau Montelena that won the famed Judgement of Paris competition in 1976 that set the wine world off its axis. Since he co-founded Grgich Hills Estate for 1977, his uncanny penchant for shaping the path of Napa, and the rest of the viticultural world as a whole, has made the winery worthy to bear his name a perpetual driving force behind the California wine scene. He’s left his legacy in the capable hands of his winemaking nephew Ivo Jeramaz, whose own skill in melding traditional technique and technological innovation has enabled him to follow in his uncle’s footsteps with scalpel-like precision. He continues this journey with this tremendous selection by sourcing Cab Sauv grapes from estate vines that are steeped in Napa lore in their own right. Planted in 1959, these Yountville AVA beauties are some of the oldest vines in the valley. They certainly use the age to their full advantage, as their deep root system is able to pluck out expressions of terroir that the youngins' just can’t grab. This results in fruit that’s incredibly concentrated and richly complex; fruit that’s definitely worthy of the a label bearing Grgich’s name.
The 1986 Napa Valley vintage is destined to go down in history. As such, it’s no wonder why wine lovers have been salivating at the thought of experiencing the vintage through the talents of Grgich Hills Estate’s master winemaker. Since Mike Grgich has retired, these are some of the few remaining wines to taste made by his hand.
The grapes are culled from estate vines in the Yountville AVA that are renowned for being some of the oldest Cab Sauv vines in the valley. IOpulently purple in hue, this selection seduces with robust richness propelled by dense expressions of blackberries and black licorice with just a smidgen of allspice. Long, velvety tannins and a round, bosomy structure carry the wine to a long, luxurious finish. It’s a wine that honors Mike Grgich’s legend.
Well balanced, as the ripe cherry and plum flavors show through quite well and the tannins and oak flavors are in check. The fruit flavor is still strong on the finish, too. Ready to drink.--1986 California Cabernet horizontal. 13,000 cases made. ~89WS
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