"traditional" California wines

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Mattstolz
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"traditional" California wines

#1 Post by Mattstolz » August 10th, 2018, 1:46 pm

I'm looking for reccs on some good examples of Cali Cabs/bordeaux blends that did a better job resisting the big wine pull Parker and the 90s-00s. Dont have much experience with California's wines short of new releases and want to see what some of these bottles are like with some age, but am generally not a fan of really "big" wines.

Any suggestions?

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#2 Post by A. So » August 10th, 2018, 1:51 pm

Ridge Monte Bello is to me the greatest American wine.
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#3 Post by Tom Gutting » August 10th, 2018, 1:55 pm

Monte Bello is a great choice. Apart from a few riper years in the 2010s, I think the Forman Cabernets are about as good as it gets for the classically styled wines. They are great expressions of California Cabernet. I also dig Spottswoode from the 1990s a lot. Chateau Montelena always rocks, as well.
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#4 Post by Mike Francisco » August 10th, 2018, 2:02 pm

Smith Madrone

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#5 Post by Drew Goin » August 10th, 2018, 2:38 pm

Here are some recommendations made by a more experienced Cabernet taster than I will ever be:


New York Times
"In Napa, Some Wineries Choose the Old Route"
by Eric Asimov
August 19, 2008


Frog's Leap
•.Corison
Clos du Val
Kongsgaard
Dominus
Smith-Madrone
Heitz Cellars
Mayacamas


New York Times
"A Return to Napa Classic Style"
by Eric Asimov
March 26, 2015


3 x 2012 Napa Traditionalists:

1.) Frog’s Leap "Rutherford" Estate Grown
2.) Philip TogniTanbark Hill
3.) Ramey Cellars Napa Valley

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#6 Post by David Glasser » August 10th, 2018, 2:57 pm

Good recommendations above. Would add:
Montelena Estate
Laurel Glen

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#7 Post by Nathan Smyth » August 10th, 2018, 3:13 pm

Philip Togni.

https://www.cellartracker.com/list.asp? ... +Sauvignon

https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/togni/

K&L claims to have the 1991 for less than $200.

There is also some old Chappellet by Togni, on Wine-Searcher, but it's getting very expensive.

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#8 Post by Michael S. Monie » August 10th, 2018, 3:26 pm

Six responses and no one has mentioned Dunn.
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#9 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » August 10th, 2018, 3:52 pm

Paradigm
Madrigal
Saddleback
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#10 Post by G. Bienstock » August 10th, 2018, 3:53 pm

Dominus
Dehlinger
Glenn

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#11 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » August 10th, 2018, 4:06 pm

Dunn
Diamond Creek
Ridge
Togni

Those are our favorites, though there are many others, including others mentioned above

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#12 Post by Jim Cowan » August 10th, 2018, 4:08 pm

Ritchie Creek.
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#13 Post by Howard Cooper » August 10th, 2018, 4:10 pm

Ridge (and not just the Monte Bello, can get the Estate)
Chateau Montelena
Togni
Dunn
Stony Hill
Mayacamas (does anyone know if this is still correct after the property was sold?)
Heitz
Howard

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#14 Post by Mel Knox » August 10th, 2018, 6:39 pm

Simi
Rodney strong
Good values in the scheme of things as well
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#15 Post by Jim Hanlon » August 10th, 2018, 6:47 pm

Mount Eden

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#16 Post by Mattstolz » August 10th, 2018, 9:35 pm

Drew Goin wrote:Here are some recommendations made by a more experienced Cabernet taster than I will ever be:


New York Times
"In Napa, Some Wineries Choose the Old Route"
by Eric Asimov
August 19, 2008


Frog's Leap
•.Corison
Clos du Val
Kongsgaard
Dominus
Smith-Madrone
Heitz Cellars
Mayacamas


New York Times
"A Return to Napa Classic Style"
by Eric Asimov
March 26, 2015


3 x 2012 Napa Traditionalists:

1.) Frog’s Leap "Rutherford" Estate Grown
2.) Philip TogniTanbark Hill
3.) Ramey Cellars Napa Valley
Thanks! I never woulda thought Frogs Leap. Never had it before (obviously) but I guess I always had it pegged for a fruit bomb wine.


I really appreciate all the advice everyone! Definitely need to search out some Ridge and Montelena with some age looks like. I think I may have a source of some back vintage Clos du Val and Heitz I'll have to check out.

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#17 Post by Thomas Keim » August 10th, 2018, 9:45 pm

Jim Cowan wrote:Ritchie Creek.
My absolute favorite Cabernet producer for so many years - Pete Minor was such a big part of what was so special about Napa Valley - who's farming this land now? Are the Cabernet's good? I loved Minor's Blaufankisch, and remember when he started getting excited about this wine - how is it now?
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#18 Post by Chris T. » August 11th, 2018, 9:33 am

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:Paradigm
Madrigal
Saddleback
+1 for Madrigal
T r a p p

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#19 Post by Michael S. Monie » August 11th, 2018, 9:59 am

Mattstolz wrote:
Drew Goin wrote:Here are some recommendations made by a more experienced Cabernet taster than I will ever be:


New York Times
"In Napa, Some Wineries Choose the Old Route"
by Eric Asimov
August 19, 2008


Frog's Leap
•.Corison
Clos du Val
Kongsgaard
Dominus
Smith-Madrone
Heitz Cellars
Mayacamas


New York Times
"A Return to Napa Classic Style"
by Eric Asimov
March 26, 2015


3 x 2012 Napa Traditionalists:

1.) Frog’s Leap "Rutherford" Estate Grown
2.) Philip TogniTanbark Hill
3.) Ramey Cellars Napa Valley
Thanks! I never woulda thought Frogs Leap. Never had it before (obviously) but I guess I always had it pegged for a fruit bomb wine.


I really appreciate all the advice everyone! Definitely need to search out some Ridge and Montelena with some age looks like. I think I may have a source of some back vintage Clos du Val and Heitz I'll have to check out.
Montelena had TCA issues in the early 2000's.
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#20 Post by lleichtman » August 11th, 2018, 1:36 pm

Monte Bello
Phillip Togni
Clos du Val
I like Dunn but find it to be non-traditional due to the really high tannin levels
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#21 Post by John Morris » August 11th, 2018, 1:54 pm

Speaking of traditions....

I have no idea what Cuvaison's wines are like today, but here's a blast from the past that I spotted in Chambers St.'s close-out bin today -- a '75 Cuvaison Napa zinfandel. Note the ABV: 12.3! That really was another era!
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#22 Post by Mel Knox » August 11th, 2018, 2:03 pm

Wasn t Philip Togni the winemaker then??
Those wines were quite tannic and are supposed to be sensational now.
The winery left its Calistoga home for Carneros some time ago and is making a Brandlin Cabernet with grapes grown on MT Veeder....pretty tasty stuff as I recall.
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#23 Post by John Morris » August 11th, 2018, 2:12 pm

Hmm. And I passed on it (mid/low shoulder fill). Don't know anything about the winery.
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#24 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 11th, 2018, 2:20 pm

Run back, John. I would have grabbed that immediately.

To the question, I don’t buy many Cabs, and mostly backfill, but it would be:

Dunn
Dominus
Togni
Renaissance
Ridge, but less and less given the increase in new American oak that I have perceived

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#25 Post by ykwon » August 11th, 2018, 2:45 pm

Robert Mondavi Reserve from the 90’s
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#26 Post by Mattstolz » August 11th, 2018, 6:00 pm

ykwon wrote:Robert Mondavi Reserve from the 90’s
My wife and I have 80s birth years and I have been looking at some 86 Mondavis to open next year on birthdays. the prices just kill compared to something like Montelena or Ridge

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#27 Post by Drew Goin » August 11th, 2018, 6:07 pm

Mel Knox wrote:Wasn t Philip Togni the winemaker then??
I think you are correct (as usual ;) ) Mel.


↓↓This article↓↓ says he was with Cuvaison from ~1974 until 1982. For a long time, the Zin was only available at the winery.


Houston Chronicle
"Cuvaison at Right Place, Right Time"
by Michael Lonsford
March 28, 2001


I can't read the text, but I see that Frank Prial was the author of this 1990 NYT article on Togni.

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#28 Post by jon leifer » August 11th, 2018, 7:29 pm

Matt: the Mondavi res cabs from 1984-94 were terrific..have fond memories of all of them, ditto Dominus through 94. still have a few Domini left from that era ..Also enjoyed the Beringer PR's and Knights Valley cabs from that era..Rafanelli cabs also worth a look..
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#29 Post by Tim D » August 13th, 2018, 5:49 pm

I believe the title of your thread is misleading. "Traditional" California Cabernet's and Bordeaux Blends, IMHO California wines have a sweeter, more fruit forward palate. When I think of traditional California Cabernet's and Bordeuax Blends I am immediately drawn to Pritchard Hill. Not that there aren't great examples form elsewhere, just my favorite. If you are asking who in California makes wine in a Bordeuax or old world style I would agree with many of the producers already listed. However, I did not see Chateau Montelena listed, after all in 1976 they only helped put Napa on the wine world map.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#30 Post by Mattstolz » August 13th, 2018, 7:03 pm

Tim D wrote:
August 13th, 2018, 5:49 pm
I believe the title of your thread is misleading. "Traditional" California Cabernet's and Bordeaux Blends, IMHO California wines have a sweeter, more fruit forward palate. When I think of traditional California Cabernet's and Bordeuax Blends I am immediately drawn to Pritchard Hill. Not that there aren't great examples form elsewhere, just my favorite. If you are asking who in California makes wine in a Bordeuax or old world style I would agree with many of the producers already listed. However, I did not see Chateau Montelena listed, after all in 1976 they only helped put Napa on the wine world map.
i was debating the best way to word it. thats why i went with the quotation marks as a compromise haha

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#31 Post by Mel Knox » August 13th, 2018, 7:16 pm

I think California traditional' reminds me of what somebody said to me about baseball players: you always think the ones who are great when you are ten or twelve are the greatest.
California traditional kinda means whatever you encountered when you started to get interested in wine in a serious way. All the changes since are really bad and these people just don t know what they are drinking, even if they seem to be having a good time.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#32 Post by Randy Bowman » August 13th, 2018, 7:47 pm

I haven't found any "traditional" Cali wines based on my experiences of Cali Cabs from 1964 to 1990, with a few exceptions.
Dunn has changed winemakers and is moving towards the modern expectations of Cali Cabs by today's main stream drinkers but still somewhat restrained and age-able.
Gibbs hasn't been mentioned so far. Gibbs is primarily a grower, making most of their income is selling grapes to the majors. The kids decided they wanted to make some wines like they used to get. They do moderate amounts of Chard, Cab Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, red blend and Cab, all reasonably priced and built retro with lower ABV. They make a reserve Cab bottling that is a little more "new world" but still would be panned by Parker because it's not unctuous.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#33 Post by Howard Cooper » August 14th, 2018, 4:36 am

John Morris wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 1:54 pm
Speaking of traditions....

I have no idea what Cuvaison's wines are like today, but here's a blast from the past that I spotted in Chambers St.'s close-out bin today -- a '75 Cuvaison Napa zinfandel. Note the ABV: 12.3! That really was another era!
[welldone.gif]
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#34 Post by Howard Cooper » August 14th, 2018, 4:38 am

Tim D wrote:
August 13th, 2018, 5:49 pm
However, I did not see Chateau Montelena listed, after all in 1976 they only helped put Napa on the wine world map.
You probably should read the thread more carefully.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#35 Post by Howard Cooper » August 14th, 2018, 4:41 am

Mel Knox wrote:
August 13th, 2018, 7:16 pm
I think California traditional' reminds me of what somebody said to me about baseball players: you always think the ones who are great when you are ten or twelve are the greatest.
California traditional kinda means whatever you encountered when you started to get interested in wine in a serious way. All the changes since are really bad and these people just don t know what they are drinking, even if they seem to be having a good time.
When I was a kid (and some of these were before I was 10-12 years old), we had Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Koufax, Ford, Gibson, Marechal, Palmer, etc., etc., etc. They were the greatest. [cheers.gif]
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#36 Post by Neal.Mollen » August 14th, 2018, 5:24 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 4:38 am
Tim D wrote:
August 13th, 2018, 5:49 pm
However, I did not see Chateau Montelena listed, after all in 1976 they only helped put Napa on the wine world map.
You probably should read the thread more carefully.
LOL. Post 3. And post 6. And post 13. And 16 and 26.

So, yeah.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#37 Post by M. Dildine » August 14th, 2018, 6:42 am

Not sure what we mean by "traditional" California wine. Last night I drank a Petite from Napa ('15 Carlisle Palisades) and a Mataro from Amador (Dirty & Rowdy '16 Shake Ridge). They couldn't have been more different, or more proudly "Californian."
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#38 Post by chrisforno » August 14th, 2018, 7:11 am

Matt,
The Best Buy on traditional Cali Cab and Bordeaux blends with plenty of age would be Renaissance Winery, ordering direct from the winery. For recent releases, the best qpr for my money would be Togni Tanbark Hill, Ridge’s Cab Estate, Mount Eden, Mayacamas and Laurel Glen.

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#39 Post by Ross W » August 14th, 2018, 8:36 am

Tons of great suggestions. My favorites are: Monte Bello, Dunn Howell Mountain, Montelena Estate, Heitz Martha's Vineyard, older Mayacamas, Togni and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (and a relative bargain).
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#40 Post by Chris Foley » August 14th, 2018, 9:17 am

chrisforno wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 7:11 am
...
Renaissance Winery,
...
Ooohh. Never heard of that winery before.
I may need to leave my Bordeaux Box to buy some mature CA Cabs and Blends from them.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#41 Post by K John Joseph » August 14th, 2018, 9:24 am

Corison
Togni
Dominus - older vintages only (as in 12+ years old)
Monte Bello - same

Forman in older vintages (12-15+ years) only. Newer vintages don't even remotely resemble traditional wines, and frequently top 15.2% abv.
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#42 Post by dougwilder » August 14th, 2018, 4:11 pm

Dyer, Volker Eisele, Shypoke.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#43 Post by Rory Williams » August 14th, 2018, 4:43 pm

dougwilder wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 4:11 pm
Dyer, Volker Eisele, Shypoke.
Dyer is a great rec. Lovely wines.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#44 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 14th, 2018, 4:58 pm

Corison has been mentioned many times, but needs to be mentioned many more.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#45 Post by Mel Knox » August 14th, 2018, 6:14 pm

Howard,
Methinks you and I are close to the same age... From 54 to 62 the Mick probably had the best run ever, but Willie's career will be hard to top. Hard to imagine what his numbers would be if he hadn t played in a wind tunnel.

The wine biz has crept into your spelling..it's Clos de la Marechale in Nuits St Georges...it's Juan Marichal
Last edited by Mel Knox on August 14th, 2018, 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#46 Post by PaulMills » August 14th, 2018, 6:21 pm

I could bring a 2011 or 2012 Dunn NV Friday night if you want to try it. Or a 2010 Drinkward Peschon.

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#47 Post by Mattstolz » August 14th, 2018, 7:55 pm

chrisforno wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 7:11 am
Matt,
The Best Buy on traditional Cali Cab and Bordeaux blends with plenty of age would be Renaissance Winery, ordering direct from the winery. For recent releases, the best qpr for my money would be Togni Tanbark Hill, Ridge’s Cab Estate, Mount Eden, Mayacamas and Laurel Glen.

Chris
interesting! I've not heard of this one either. ill have to check them out
K John Joseph wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 9:24 am
Corison
Togni
Dominus - older vintages only (as in 12+ years old)
Monte Bello - same

Forman in older vintages (12-15+ years) only. Newer vintages don't even remotely resemble traditional wines, and frequently top 15.2% abv.
Ross W wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 8:36 am
Tons of great suggestions. My favorites are: Monte Bello, Dunn Howell Mountain, Montelena Estate, Heitz Martha's Vineyard, older Mayacamas, Togni and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (and a relative bargain).
I think this seems to pretty much be the consensus! Guess I know what to look for!

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#48 Post by Matt Mauldin » August 14th, 2018, 7:59 pm

Plenty of great recommendations above. I'm throwing Calluna and White Rock into the mix.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#49 Post by Howard Cooper » August 15th, 2018, 5:13 am

Mel Knox wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 6:14 pm
Howard,
Methinks you and I are close to the same age... From 54 to 62 the Mick probably had the best run ever, but Willie's career will be hard to top. Hard to imagine what his numbers would be if he hadn t played in a wind tunnel.

The wine biz has crept into your spelling..it's Clos de la Marechale in Nuits St Georges...it's Juan Marichal
[oops.gif] At least I confused him with Burgundy!!!!
Howard

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#50 Post by Mel Knox » August 16th, 2018, 7:10 pm

Howard,
You might have confused Willie Mays with Louisville Las Cases....
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