California Cult

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MikeL238
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California Cult

#1 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 1:51 pm

I recently had my very first experience with the so called 'Cali Cult' cab in 2007 Bond St. Eden. It was good, but bit oaky and too rich/jammy for me to justify the price tag. I actually preferred the taste of my usual go to California cabs like Mondavi Reserves and Heitz. This got me thinking-how are other so called cults compare to Bond? Ones that I'm curious to know are Colgin, Dana Estates, Schrader, Maybach, Scarecrow, and MacDonald as I've been wanting to try them as well. Thanks all!
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Re: California Cult

#2 Post by jordan whitehead » July 6th, 2020, 1:54 pm

most are big wines
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Re: California Cult

#3 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » July 6th, 2020, 1:57 pm

They all suck don't waste your money.
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Re: California Cult

#4 Post by Chris Crutchfield » July 6th, 2020, 2:02 pm

Overpriced, over-ripe, over-extracted, over-oaked, over-everything. The only thing lacking about them is the subtlety.

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Re: California Cult

#5 Post by mark rudner » July 6th, 2020, 2:05 pm

macdonald does not belong in that grouping

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Re: California Cult

#6 Post by Anton D » July 6th, 2020, 2:09 pm

mark rudner wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:05 pm
macdonald does not belong in that grouping
Nor Piper.

I am not sure who else is on the cult list in order to discuss further.

Spottswoode is great, is it a cult wine?
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Re: California Cult

#7 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » July 6th, 2020, 2:19 pm

Anton D wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:09 pm
mark rudner wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:05 pm
macdonald does not belong in that grouping
Nor Piper.

I am not sure who else is on the cult list in order to discuss further.

Spottswoode is great, is it a cult wine?
I wouldn't call it a cult wine. While some of these 'cult' wineries now have a track record going on 30 years, I wouldn't classify any winery created in the 80's as 'cult.'
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Re: California Cult

#8 Post by roybehr » July 6th, 2020, 2:21 pm

2007 was a ripe vintage, so that probably wasn't the best example of Bond or any of the other wines. I'd suggest you try a 2010 or 2011 so you can reach your own conclusions.

MacDonald is definitely a different beast, in a good way. I find it to be one of the few wines that can make both Napa lovers and Napa haters happy. Also VHR, Beta, and Abreu.

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Re: California Cult

#9 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » July 6th, 2020, 2:31 pm

Abreu and Araujo-era Eisele wines are worth the tariff.
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Re: California Cult

#10 Post by Len Stevens » July 6th, 2020, 2:40 pm

I adore Spottswoode and Piper (admittedly not a long history with Roy, but thus far blown away).

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Re: California Cult

#11 Post by mike pobega » July 6th, 2020, 2:40 pm

MACDONALD does not belong in that group, nor does some of the older Colgin. The 2007 vintage was made for Parker, hence the high and not warranted regard. The dude gargled with Mega-Purple.
If you get a chance, get hold of some Bryants from the early 2000s. I recommend the 2002. Spottswoode with some age and correct handling could be amazing.
The term 'Cult' is a trigger, as seen a few posts above. There are some truly other-worldly wines out there, one just needs to find them.
There is always.....Pavie. lol (right Brent?) newhere

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Re: California Cult

#12 Post by Victor Hong » July 6th, 2020, 3:23 pm

Brent C l a y t o n wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 1:57 pm
They all suck don't waste your money.
They are great expressions of real-estate terroir.
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Re: California Cult

#13 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » July 6th, 2020, 3:25 pm

mark rudner wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:05 pm
macdonald does not belong in that grouping
+1

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Re: California Cult

#14 Post by NED VALOIS » July 6th, 2020, 3:34 pm

Brent C l a y t o n wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:31 pm
Abreu and Araujo-era Eisele wines are worth the tariff.
I don't know, Great, but gotten very pricey for me. [scratch.gif]

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Re: California Cult

#15 Post by Scott Brunson » July 6th, 2020, 4:15 pm

mark rudner wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:05 pm
macdonald does not belong in that grouping
Yes
I am also a big fan of Scarecrow—big but with depth and elegance.
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Re: California Cult

#16 Post by Alex Valdes » July 6th, 2020, 4:32 pm

is there a rough in/out of California Cult? I would have guessed they are:
Screaming Eagle
Harlan
Scarecrow
Bryant
Schrader
Colgin?
Macdonald?
Abreu?

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Re: California Cult

#17 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 6th, 2020, 4:51 pm

Interesting that I actually had this conversation with a respected California Cabernet winemaker today. He thinks there’s only one “cult” cab left, Screagle. There are lots of expensive wines, but none left that are cult status.
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Re: California Cult

#18 Post by Alex Valdes » July 6th, 2020, 4:53 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 4:51 pm
Interesting that I actually had this conversation with a respected California Cabernet winemaker today. He thinks there’s only one “cult” cab left, Screagle. There are lots of expensive wines, but none left that are cult status.
That sounds sensible.

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Re: California Cult

#19 Post by Adam Frisch » July 6th, 2020, 4:53 pm

You want a lean Cab, check out Ceritas. But a cult in another way, I suppose. [wink.gif]
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Re: California Cult

#20 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 5:04 pm

roybehr wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:21 pm
2007 was a ripe vintage, so that probably wasn't the best example of Bond or any of the other wines. I'd suggest you try a 2010 or 2011 so you can reach your own conclusions.

MacDonald is definitely a different beast, in a good way. I find it to be one of the few wines that can make both Napa lovers and Napa haters happy. Also VHR, Beta, and Abreu.
That's good to know. Do you think that's the case for other ripe vintages? Or more so that their style changed because of way Parker rated them? Would be interested to know how 07 compares to say 12 and 13.
Last edited by MikeL238 on July 6th, 2020, 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: California Cult

#21 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 5:06 pm

mike pobega wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:40 pm
MACDONALD does not belong in that group, nor does some of the older Colgin. The 2007 vintage was made for Parker, hence the high and not warranted regard. The dude gargled with Mega-Purple.
If you get a chance, get hold of some Bryants from the early 2000s. I recommend the 2002. Spottswoode with some age and correct handling could be amazing.
The term 'Cult' is a trigger, as seen a few posts above. There are some truly other-worldly wines out there, one just needs to find them.
There is always.....Pavie. lol (right Brent?) newhere
Seems to me that MacDonald is a different beast than these so called over ripe oaky cabs. Will have to give it a try-thank you! And yes, I never really considered Spottswodde the same as the ones I mentioned.
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Re: California Cult

#22 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 5:06 pm

Brent C l a y t o n wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 1:57 pm
They all suck don't waste your money.
[rofl.gif]
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Re: California Cult

#23 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 5:07 pm

Brent C l a y t o n wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:31 pm
Abreu and Araujo-era Eisele wines are worth the tariff.
Do you think Araujo's style changed since the takeover?
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Re: California Cult

#24 Post by Scott Jameson » July 6th, 2020, 5:46 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 4:51 pm
Interesting that I actually had this conversation with a respected California Cabernet winemaker today. He thinks there’s only one “cult” cab left, Screagle. There are lots of expensive wines, but none left that are cult status.
I can see this view, but I can also see including MacDonald as the new entry in the "cult" category. It seems to tick most of the boxes: highly rated (deservedly so), very limited, mailing list only availability, significant aftermarket price increase, etc ...

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Re: California Cult

#25 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 5:47 pm

Scott Brunson wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 4:15 pm
mark rudner wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:05 pm
macdonald does not belong in that grouping
Yes
I am also a big fan of Scarecrow—big but with depth and elegance.
So even though big, not overpowering as some of the others that I mentioned?
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Re: California Cult

#26 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 6:00 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 4:53 pm
You want a lean Cab, check out Ceritas. But a cult in another way, I suppose. [wink.gif]
I'll definitely check it out! Thanks for the suggestion!
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Re: California Cult

#27 Post by Nick F. » July 6th, 2020, 6:13 pm

Had an 06 kapscandy estate cab, was pretty good. More Bordeaux in style, not sure it’s considered a cult cab, and I don’t think I would ever pay retail, but was an excellent wine.
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Re: California Cult

#28 Post by Robert M yers » July 6th, 2020, 6:27 pm

I think this thread just took it from they are all over ripe Parker bombs to excepting them one by one until they are all now made classically from the Loire. :)

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Re: California Cult

#29 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 6:29 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 6:27 pm
I think this thread just took it from they are all over ripe Parker bombs to excepting them one by one until they are all now made classically from the Loire. :)
Haha, I don't mind hearing about what people enjoy instead!
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Re: California Cult

#30 Post by Dan Hammer » July 6th, 2020, 6:34 pm

I’ve had 2 ‘07 Schraders and 1 ‘08 Maybach. Maybach is much better.

MACDONALD is in a class by itself. I recently opened a 2014, and it was rocking.

If I’m rating:

1. MACDONALD
2. Maybach (close 2nd).
3. Schrader

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Re: California Cult

#31 Post by lleichtman » July 6th, 2020, 6:40 pm

Chris Crutchfield wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Overpriced, over-ripe, over-extracted, over-oaked, over-everything. The only thing lacking about them is the subtlety.
But not undercharged. They seem to have that part down.
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Re: California Cult

#32 Post by Dan Kravitz » July 6th, 2020, 6:53 pm

Here are my tasting notes from last New Year's Eve:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=166174&p=2877375&hi ... n#p2877375

Message:

If Cabernet is grown in the right place and the winegrower wants to make great wine and knows how to do it, the result will be wines that will age to greatness.

I have no idea what Colgin wines are like today, this is the only one of their wines I've had.

Ya wanna talk about High Praise? I thought it was from the Santa Cruz Mountains!

I haven't had most of the other wines mentioned, but I have had
Harlan
Bryant
Schrader
Abreu

Unfortunately none of the others were even ten years old, so of course not great.

Harlan was really impressive, which is not the same as great.
Bryant was only four years old, but I thought it would become great.
Schrader was wonderful, but all primary.
Abreu Madrona, at close to 10 years, was fabulous, it just needed another decade for greatness.

It's a free country. If you own these wines and want to drink them young, that's your prerogative. But if you want to taste them in their glory, please wait.

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Re: California Cult

#33 Post by Curtis Chen » July 6th, 2020, 7:04 pm

Chris Crutchfield wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Overpriced, over-ripe, over-extracted, over-oaked, over-everything. The only thing lacking about them is the subtlety.
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Re: California Cult

#34 Post by MikeL238 » July 6th, 2020, 7:13 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 6:53 pm
Here are my tasting notes from last New Year's Eve:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=166174&p=2877375&hi ... n#p2877375

Message:

If Cabernet is grown in the right place and the winegrower wants to make great wine and knows how to do it, the result will be wines that will age to greatness.

I have no idea what Colgin wines are like today, this is the only one of their wines I've had.

Ya wanna talk about High Praise? I thought it was from the Santa Cruz Mountains!

I haven't had most of the other wines mentioned, but I have had
Harlan
Bryant
Schrader
Abreu

Unfortunately none of the others were even ten years old, so of course not great.

Harlan was really impressive, which is not the same as great.
Bryant was only four years old, but I thought it would become great.
Schrader was wonderful, but all primary.
Abreu Madrona, at close to 10 years, was fabulous, it just needed another decade for greatness.

It's a free country. If you own these wines and want to drink them young, that's your prerogative. But if you want to taste them in their glory, please wait.

Dan Kravitz
Appreciate the note Dan. I guess there is another question of ageability of these types of wines. Schrader that you had, albeit primary, you didn't think it was too rich or heavy?
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Re: California Cult

#35 Post by Degarmo.j » July 6th, 2020, 7:20 pm

I know they are a very very small producer, but I did a tasting with Kinsman eades and really loved both of their wine and i don't typically like the normal "napa cab".
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Re: California Cult

#36 Post by Chris Seiber » July 6th, 2020, 8:03 pm

Scott Jameson wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 5:46 pm
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 4:51 pm
Interesting that I actually had this conversation with a respected California Cabernet winemaker today. He thinks there’s only one “cult” cab left, Screagle. There are lots of expensive wines, but none left that are cult status.
I can see this view, but I can also see including MacDonald as the new entry in the "cult" category. It seems to tick most of the boxes: highly rated (deservedly so), very limited, mailing list only availability, significant aftermarket price increase, etc ...
I agree completely. I think it’s only not a cult wine if you define cult as “wines I don’t like” but you like MacDonald.

Sine Qua Non is clearly a cult wine too, though not Cabernet.

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Re: California Cult

#37 Post by HoosJustinG » July 6th, 2020, 9:07 pm

I drink tons of Cali cab ... I like everything from the more “old school” producers like Togni, Heitz, Mayacamus, etc to the bigger “culty” stuff. I enjoy all of them for what they are. I actually just had an 07 Bond St Eden last Saturday and found it super enjoyable. It‘ s clearly a new world wine, so if that just doesn’t float your boat, then you’re never going to like it, but fruit was pure and tannins were silky and sexy. Brought it to our favorite restaurant locally ... I had it with some sort of mushroom/farro/something (I forget what it was, but you get the idea) starter and beef tenderloin main. Loved it with both.
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Re: California Cult

#38 Post by Adam Frisch » July 6th, 2020, 9:36 pm

Here's a question, is there a completely un-oaked Napa cab?

*disclaimer: I'm not anti-oak, just curious.
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Re: California Cult

#39 Post by roybehr » July 6th, 2020, 11:31 pm

MikeL238 wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 5:04 pm
roybehr wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:21 pm
2007 was a ripe vintage, so that probably wasn't the best example of Bond or any of the other wines. I'd suggest you try a 2010 or 2011 so you can reach your own conclusions.

MacDonald is definitely a different beast, in a good way. I find it to be one of the few wines that can make both Napa lovers and Napa haters happy. Also VHR, Beta, and Abreu.
That's good to know. Do you think that's the case for other ripe vintages? Or more so that their style changed because of way Parker rated them? Would be interested to know how 07 compares to say 12 and 13.
2012 is also on the riper side. 2013 is more structured and age-worthy, though I've been surprised at how well they're drinking now. If you really want to try an expensive, cult wine from a long-aging vintage, but with plenty of bottle age, look for a 2001 Harlan, Bond, or Abreu. They will be a lot less jammy than the '07 you had. Still too much for some people on this board, but to each their own. They'll all be pretty expensive. Somewhat less expense -but less cultish - options are 2001 Phelps Insignia or Shafer Hillside Select.

The other option is to find 2011 versions. This is a very lean vintage and some people consider it to be more old world in style. I had a 2011 Promontory on a visit there last year, and was shocked at how good it was. (Part of the Harlan family.) The good news is they will be much less expensive than more highly rated vintages.

Always worth reaching your own conclusions.

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Re: California Cult

#40 Post by JFertitta » July 7th, 2020, 6:30 am

mike pobega wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 2:40 pm
The dude gargled with Mega-Purple.
Pics???
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Re: California Cult

#41 Post by Andy Sc » July 7th, 2020, 9:30 am

roybehr wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 11:31 pm
The other option is to find 2011 versions. This is a very lean vintage and some people consider it to be more old world in style. I had a 2011 Promontory on a visit there last year, and was shocked at how good it was. (Part of the Harlan family.) The good news is they will be much less expensive than more highly rated vintages.
Same experience here. Some big surprises with some 2011 recently. They were drinking well, to my surprise. I even expected green notes but instead got fine, enjoyable, light Cali Cabs. But I still wouldn't buy them. While they are not green in anyway, the lack of depth is obvious and when analyzing the wines properly, that becomes instantly visible.
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Re: California Cult

#42 Post by Chris Atkins » July 7th, 2020, 12:08 pm

“Cult wines” are defined by the by the decade in which they emanated from, and folks there is only one, The Nineties! Prized heavyweights grew up that decade. The other criteria of course being a lengthy waiting list. The latter of which have all evaporated save for Screaming Eagle 🦅

Most of the cults mailing lists have endured 90%+ turnover.
Gee I wonder why?

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Re: California Cult

#43 Post by Marek Hnatyk » July 7th, 2020, 12:20 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 6:53 pm
Here are my tasting notes from last New Year's Eve:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=166174&p=2877375&hi ... n#p2877375

Message:

If Cabernet is grown in the right place and the winegrower wants to make great wine and knows how to do it, the result will be wines that will age to greatness.
I haven't had most of the other wines mentioned, but I have had
Harlan
Bryant
Schrader
Abreu

Bryant was only four years old, but I thought it would become great.

Dan Kravitz
I had my first cult cabernet in March this year, it was Bryant 2002, it it was the best wine I have ever had ( 98/100), so fully met my expectations.
Obviously in perfect balance, out of this world texture, without heaviness nor overoaked.
By the way, if someone is disturbed by richness in wine, should switch to another drink than wine...
M a r e k


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Re: California Cult

#44 Post by HoosJustinG » July 7th, 2020, 12:37 pm

Chris Atkins wrote:
July 7th, 2020, 12:08 pm
“Cult wines” are defined by the by the decade in which they emanated from, and folks there is only one, The Nineties! Prized heavyweights grew up that decade. The other criteria of course being a lengthy waiting list. The latter of which have all evaporated save for Screaming Eagle 🦅

Most of the cults mailing lists have endured 90%+ turnover.
Gee I wonder why?
The mailing listers feasted by selling 1/2 their allocations on the secondary market to pay for the 1/2 they kept and drank. It’s only so long before a producer is going to realize that’s happening and start selling their wines for “market” prices. Anything you can still buy for 1/2 the secondary market going rate still has a long, slow waiting list — it’s just the number of producers still willing to do that has evaporated.
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Re: California Cult

#45 Post by MikeL238 » July 7th, 2020, 12:41 pm

I think the conclusion is to stay with my Mondavi Reserves rather than splashing on these high end bottles. Thanks all!
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Re: California Cult

#46 Post by Chris Atkins » July 7th, 2020, 12:57 pm

The lists evaporated because prices skyrocketed and demand plummeted. Consumers got smart and the Cults were blindsided!

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Re: California Cult

#47 Post by Chris Atkins » July 7th, 2020, 1:00 pm

At least with Harlan and Bryant, for a 4 year run some folks cashed in and got to drink half their allocation for free.

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Nick Christie
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Re: California Cult

#48 Post by Nick Christie » July 7th, 2020, 1:01 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 6:53 pm
Here are my tasting notes from last New Year's Eve:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=166174&p=2877375&hi ... n#p2877375

Message:

If Cabernet is grown in the right place and the winegrower wants to make great wine and knows how to do it, the result will be wines that will age to greatness.

I have no idea what Colgin wines are like today, this is the only one of their wines I've had.

Ya wanna talk about High Praise? I thought it was from the Santa Cruz Mountains!

I haven't had most of the other wines mentioned, but I have had
Harlan
Bryant
Schrader
Abreu

Unfortunately none of the others were even ten years old, so of course not great.

Harlan was really impressive, which is not the same as great.
Bryant was only four years old, but I thought it would become great.
Schrader was wonderful, but all primary.
Abreu Madrona, at close to 10 years, was fabulous, it just needed another decade for greatness.

It's a free country. If you own these wines and want to drink them young, that's your prerogative. But if you want to taste them in their glory, please wait.

Dan Kravitz
I have a very similar take on Dan's, with probably even less levels of experience (i.e. just a handful of these wines).

That said, I'd be very curious to hear from any of our higher rollers who have had many Harlans through the years, particularly with 12+ years maturation. I've only had two, it's been nearly 10 years since the last I tried one, and I remember being very, very impressed with the texture. Yes, they didn't have European nuance or 'terroir' (whatever you define that as), but they struck me as exceptionally well made.

Also, my assumption is that newer Harlans are bigger than older Harlans, right? Particularly those from the 90s that got the 100* label?

Chris Atkins
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Re: California Cult

#49 Post by Chris Atkins » July 7th, 2020, 1:45 pm

I doubt the newer Harlan’s are bigger than the older ones. Certainly the 90’s Harlan’s were extravagant wines, and pleasing to me.

Bryant however made perhaps the finest Cult wine for with their 1994 and 1995. Helen Turley!

JackW e i s s b e r g
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Re: California Cult

#50 Post by JackW e i s s b e r g » July 7th, 2020, 2:44 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 8:03 pm

I agree completely. I think it’s only not a cult wine if you define cult as “wines I don’t like” but you like MacDonald.
This!!

I think it's fair to say from this thread that one man's cult is another man's religion.

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