EVERY VINTAGE FROM 1972 TO 2012: A GREAT REVELATION!
I have been visiting, buying, tasting and drinking wines from Mount Eden Vineyards since the early 70s when they began. I also have been writing about and recommending Mount Eden Vineyards wines since the launch of The Underground Wineletter in 1979. (To read the Retrospective Review from Volume I, Number 1 click here  and to read the Retrospective Review from Volume I, Number 2 click here.  Both of these have comments on Mount Eden Vineyards wines. The complete original issues are reproduced as well and later Retrospective Reviews and original issues also have comments on more Mount Eden Vineyards wines).
Below is the history of Mount Eden Vineyards from an earlier article (to read the entire article click here ):
The story of Mount Eden actually goes back to 1878. This is when the Burgundian winemaker Paul Masson arrived in San Jose. Some time later he established a vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains near the site of the present Mount Eden. Martin Ray, who grew up in the area, became acquainted with Paul Masson. And, shortly after the repeal of prohibition in 1933, he purchased the Paul Masson Champagne Company. Martin soon began producing varietal wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and claimed that California could make wines to rival those of Burgundy. That was heady stuff in the early days when very little was being produced. But, Martin Ray put his money where his mouth was and sold the Paul Masson property in 1943. The following year he used a portion of the proceeds to purchase a higher peak to the north called Mount Eden. In 1945 he planted the first vines there. Over the next few years 7 acres of Chardonnay and 7 acres of Pinot Noir was planted using budwood from the nearby Paul Masson Mountain Vineyard. Paul Masson had obtained the cuttings for these vineyards from Louis Latour on a trip to France around 1880. During the1950s Martin Ray also planted 7 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. The cuttings for the Cabernet Sauvignon came from Emmett Rixford’s famed La Questa Vineyard in Woodside, California.
A number of years before Martin Ray’s death the Martin Ray property came under the control of shareholders to whom Martin Ray had sold stock over the years. The last year for Martin Ray wines was 1970. In 1971 the late Richard Graff, one of the founders of Chalone Vineyards, made wine from the property, but it was sold in cask to Sutter Home Winery in Napa and bottled under the Sutter Home label. The former Martin Ray shareholders began producing wines under the Mount Eden Vineyards label in 1972. The rights to the old Martin Ray wines and the Martin Ray label were retained by the Ray family and later sold. In the following decade several people made the Mount Eden Vineyards wines with varying degrees of success. These included Richard and Peter Graff, Merry Edwards, Bill Anderson, and Fred Peterson. And, during those days I actually went to visit and taste with each of these individuals. In 1980 12 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 7 acres of Chardonnay were planted bringing the total of estate vineyards to 40 acres. I visited Mount Eden Vineyards again in 1981 after Jeffrey Patterson and his wife, Eleanor, arrived — Jeffrey in charge of the vineyards and winemaking and Eleanor in charge of administration and marketing. Thus began the new golden era for Mount Eden Vineyards.
Mount Eden Cabernet Sauvignon was made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from 1972 to 1986. Since then the Cabernet Sauvignon has ranged from 75% to 96% with the balance Merlot up until 1993 when some Cabernet Franc was added. From 1993 to 2006 the blend was the same – 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Beginning in 2007, small amounts (1-2%) of Petit Verdot were added. An Old Vine Reserve bottling was first made in 1990. There were 11 vintages of the Old Vine Reserve up to the last in 2000. After that the old vines (then 43 years of age) were taken out. The Old Vine Reserve was always 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and made from grapes grown on the oldest vines at the estate.
In June, Mort Maizlish, one of my wine buddies here in Santa Barbara, and I organized a 3 day event which featured a bottle of every vintage of Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon made from 1972 to 2012. Mort had asked me one day if I knew the Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet. I replied “does it get dark at night?” And then I went on to mention that I began visiting the winery right after Mount Eden started and that I had their Cabernets in my cellar back to 1973. He said that Mount Eden Vineyards was one of his favorite California Cabernets and that he had been buying them for many years and he suggested we do a lunch. I replied, “Why do a lunch when we can do a dinner?”
Indeed, in my typical unrestrained approach to things I like, I went on to say that we should try to get every vintage. This would include all vintages of the Estate bottlings as well as all vintages of the Old Vines Reserve. So we put together a list of what we had and I contacted Jeffrey Patterson, winemaker and the majority owner (along with his wife Ellie), to see what we could purchase from the winery. Jeffrey sent us his list and it turned out we were only missing the 1984 Estate. Subsequently, thanks to an inquiry from Darrell Corti, we were able to get a bottle of the 1984 from Neil and Bernice Hagen who are investors in Mount Eden Vineyards dating back to the beginning. The bottle they had was one of two that remained in their cellar from the time of first release. In addition to the bottle of 1984, it turned out that the majority of the wines came from wines purchased on release. They included wines from my cellar where they were stored from the time of original release and from the Mount Eden Vineyards cellar. The rest came from Mort Maizlish who had purchased most of his wines at various carefully selected places after they were first released.
Mort and I arranged a series of 3 dinners at 3 different Santa Barbara restaurants. These were all known to us for their excellent food and service as well as their wine friendly policy. We visited the restaurants, tasted some dishes, and then set up the menus. Next I matched the wines with each course mixing old and new wines at each dinner. At each event I also provided a Champagne from my cellar to have with the appetizer course. Once we had everything set, we invited others to join us. Jeffrey Patterson was in attendance as well as many wine aficionados including Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers, who in addition to being an internationally known expert on wine and food, was around for the transition of Martin Ray to Mount Eden Vineyards in the early 1970s (to visit the Corti Brothers website click here ). All in all the event was nearly 2 years in the making from the time Mort and I first talked about it until the wines were assembled, the people invited, the restaurant arrangements made, the dates set, and the events began. But, it was all worth it. The event was remarkable. The wine and food pairings were beautifully matched and the wines were fantastic. It was simply amazing how good the wines were and how well they had aged. A few were fully mature, yet with plenty of life ahead. A couple of the wines showed signs that they would not continue to hold well for many years into the future. And, with the exception of one wine that exhibited signs of poor storage and was oxidized, all of the wines were in great shape. However, later, tasting another bottle of the same wine, it was clear that the bottle we had was not representative of the wine. The second bottle was marvelous.
Below is a list of all the Mount Eden Vineyard wines in order of service. Following is a chronology of the 3 events including menus, dishes served with the wines, tasting notes on all the wines including production figures, and notes on the vintages from Jeffrey Patterson. The final part of the article has links to my earlier on line Mount Eden articles.
THE WINES IN ORDER OF SERVICE
Each Group of Four or Five Wines Served With A Different Food Course
2012 Estate 2011 Estate 2002 Estate 2001 Estate – 2000 Estate 2000 Old Vine Reserve 1999 Estate 1999 Old Vine Reserve – 1996 Estate 1996 Old Vine Reserve 1995 Estate 1995 Old Vine Reserve – 1989 Estate 1989 Lathweisen Ridge 1988 Estate 1987 Estate 1986 Estate
2010 Estate 2009 Estate 2005 Estate 2004 Estate – 1994 Estate 1994 Old Vine Reserve 1993 Estate 1993 Old Vine Reserve 1983 Estate – 1998 Estate 1998 Old Vine Reserve 1997 Estate 1997 Old Vine Reserve – 1977 Estate 1978 Estate 1979 Estate 1980 Estate 1981 Estate
2008 Estate 2007 Estate 2006 Estate 2003 Estate – 1992 Estate 1992 Old Vine Reserve 1985 Estate 1984 Estate 1982 Estate – 1990 Estate 1990 Old Vine Reserve 1991 Estate 1991 Old Vine Reserve 1976 Estate – 1975 Estate 1974 Estate 1973 Estate “First Bottling” 1973 Estate “Second Bottling” 1972 Estate
THREE GRAND FOOD AND WINE EVENTS IN SANTA BARBARA
OLIO E LIMONE
SANTA BARBARA CLUB
WITH MOUNT EDEN CABERNET SAUVIGNONS FROM 41 YEARS 1972 – 2012
Olio e Limone
June 14, 2015
Olio e Limone (http://www.olioelimone.com/ ) opened in 1999. Chef Alberto Morello draws inspiration from all over Italy, but is particularly fond of Sicilian dishes. Along with his wife Elaine, who oversees the dining room, it has consistently been one of Santa Barbara’s best Italian restaurants. The dishes selected for this dinner are great examples of the Olio e Limone style and were a great complement to the wines.
Food and Wine
Appetizer and Champagne
Carpaccio di Vitello
This was a wonderful dish. The veal was pink and light and delicate accented by arugula, porcini mushrooms, shaved parmesan, and truffle vinaigrette.
1999 Roederer Brut Rosé
Roederer Brut Rosé is a favorite rosé of mine year in and year out. This 1999 along with the 1996 are 2 of my favorites to drink now. Always very pale in color, they age beautifully and improve over many years. The 1999 is beautifully balanced with lovely fruit and complex flavors. It was a perfect match with the veal carpaccio.
Four Course Menu And Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Plus One Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon Made By Mount Eden Vineyards
Ravioli d’ Anatra
This was a marvelous dish – hand made duck ravioli with a cream porcini mushroom sauce. It was delicious with the wines.
2012 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
The 2012 vintage was Another great late year with drought conditions persisting. Late bud break and late harvest in October. Easy full ripeness and the hallmark of beautiful harmony. Full crop.
2012 produced 19,472 bottles. Bottle # 03,769 tasted.
The 2012 will be released for sale next year. It is gorgeous and consists of 78% % Cabernet Sauvignon with 10 % Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. Dark in color the wine has a deep perfume of cassis, mulberry, and cedar and has very rich cassis like fruit with a tinge of cedar. Full, rich, and balanced this is a compelling wine that should not be missed – Outstanding Plus.
2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
The 2011 vintage was like 2010 but with no rain. Harvest started in late October and the ripeness, like 2010, was moderate at best. 2011 is the current release.
2011 produced 18,523 bottles. Bottle #21,809 tasted.
The 2011 was made with 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Dark in color the wine has a deep earthy, cedary, berry perfume. Medium bodied with lovely fruit tinged with cedar it has good grip and some underlying tannin. This should age nicely – Outstanding.
2002 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
The 2002 vintage was a late Sept to early Oct harvest with high ripeness and heat. Very attractive brett induced complexity, lively balance, a crowd favorite.
2002 produced 25,008 bottles. Bottle # 22,811 tasted.
The 2002 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark in color the wine has a lovely perfume showing hints of cassis, blackberry, and cedar with a touch of spice and earthiness. It is rich and rounded with lots of fruit and flavor and some underlying tannin. Delicious now, but this wine is sure to evolve over many years – Outstanding.
2001 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
The 2001 vintage was a September harvest of normal yields. Good balance, medium weight, good complexity. Only Estate wine produced. 2001 produced 26,820 bottles. Bottle #21809 tasted.
The 2001 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark in color the wine has a gorgeous perfume of blackberry, cassis and cedar with lots of rounded fruit and balanced tannin. This is a lovely wine that is lovely to drink now, but should continue to improve over many years – Outstanding Plus.
Quaglie con Polenta e Caponata
A gorgeous dish of roasted quail stuffed with sausage accompanied by polenta and Sicilian ratatouille again matched beautifully with the wines.
2000 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
Very normal year climatically. Sept harvest, average ripeness, aging slowly.
2000 produced 17,510 bottles. Bottle # 08978 tasted.
The 2000 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark in color the wine has a gorgeous perfume of cassis, cedar, and blackberry with lots of fruit and structure. Although very approachable now, with additional age the wine will round out and should be one of the best of the more recent Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernets – Outstanding Plus.
2000 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
This was the last harvest for the Old Vine Reserve. After the harvest the vines were pulled out.The production was 2900 bottles. Bottle # 01522 tasted. What an end to the run!
This is a great wine with a dark color and a deep cedary blackberry perfume showing a floral note. The wine has great intensity, fruit, flavor, and balance with structure and balance and a very long finish. This is a Cabernet that should have decades of life ahead – Exceptional.
1999 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1999 had a very cold winter and extremely late bud break and harvest. Picking commenced November 6. Solid vintage, aging slowly.
1999 produced 18,875 bottles. Bottle # 01725 tasted.
The 1999 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark in color with a gorgeous perfume showing hints of plum and blackberry with cedar and spice nuances this wine has lots of berry fruit accented by cedar and floral spice. It is delicious to drink now, but is structured for the long term – Outstanding Plus.
1999 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
The production was 6,631 bottles. Bottle # 06,012 tasted.
Dark color with a great perfume showing spice tinged berry and cassis fruit the wine has a myriad of black fruits with a cedar tinge and is structured with depth and intensity. Like the 2000 Old Vine Reserve this wine has decades of life ahead – Outstanding Plus.
Carre di Vitello con Rapini
The roasted rack of veal with puréed potatoes and rapini was a lovely combination of flavors to match with the wines.
1996 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1996 had a September harvest, very big year for concentration and balance 12.8% alcohol, aging perfectly.
1996 produced 13,686 bottles. Bottle # 03129 tasted.
The 1996 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Caberent Franc. Dark in color with a deep earth cedary perfume this wine has lots of fruit on the palate and a firm underlying structure. Still evolving, it has a long life ahead – Outstanding.
1996 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
The production was 4,169 bottles. Bottle # 0095 tasted.
Dark in color this wine has a deep berry perfume with a cedary, earthy nuance. It has great intensity of fruit and lots of structure and depth and will age effortlessly for a very long time – Outstanding Plus.
1995 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1995 was an October harvest, moderate ripeness. 13% alcohol, Classic Mount Eden year, emphasizing Old World moderation over new world flair.
1995 produced 19,248 bottles. Bottle # 01128 tasted.
The 1995 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Caberent Franc. Dark in color with a deep perfume showing hints of spice and cedar with a tinge of chocolate this wine has great fruit and structure. It is beautifully balanced and delicious to drink now, but still with a very long life ahead – Outstanding Plus.
1995 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
The production was 5955 bottles. Bottle # 05102 tasted.
Dark in color with a deep cedar and spice perfume showing a faint hint of earthiness this wine has great fruit, flavor, and structure. Tinges of cedar and spice add to the complexity. It is drinking well now, but well evolve over a very long time into the future – Outstanding Plus.
Assorted Italian Cheeses
The Italian cheeses were a nice finish to the meal and matched beautifully with the wines.
1989 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1989 was a drought year. Cool weather at the end created a relatively light vintage. 12.5% alcohol.
The 1989 was made with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. Dark color with a deep cedary earthy perfume this wine has very nice fruit with a cedary nuance and a firm underlying structure. At a peak, it is lovely to drink now, but should keep for many more years – Highly Recommended Plus.
1989 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains Lathweisen Ridge
In 1980-81 vines were planted on Lathweisen Ridge (named for an early settler in the area) adjacent to the Cabernet Sauvignon vines that were planted by Martin Ray in the 1940s. There were 9 acres planted in total – 7 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 Merlot, and 1 Cabernet Franc. Wine was made from these vines in 1986, but it was not bottled and was sold in bulk. In 1987, 1988, and 1989 Mount Eden made a second Cabernet Sauvignon from here under the Lathweisen Ridge label. In 1990 wine made from grapes grown on this vineyard became the Cabernet Sauvignon Estate and the wine made from grapes grown on the original Martin Ray plantings became the Old Vine Reserve.
Blended with 20% Merlot the wine is dark in color and has a lovely cassis tinged perfume and is elegant and rounded with nice supple fruit and harmonious balance. It is fully mature and drinking beautifully – Highly Recommended Plus.
1988 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1988 was a drought year. Very early harvest and very small yields. Concentrated style. 12.2 % alcohol. The first year we started canopy work in the summer to control herbaceousness.
The 1988 was made with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. Dark in color this wine has a stunning perfume showing cedar tinged cassis and berry fruit. It is structured and flavorful with loads of cedar tinged fruit and seemed to get better with every sip. This is really gorgeous and will age effortlessly for a very long time – Outstanding Plus.
1987 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1987 was the beginning of a five year drought (87-91). Still dark to the rim. Totally old world in style with 12.6% alcohol.
The 1987 was made with 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot.
Dark in color with a deep perfume showing hints of tobacco and cedar this wine has lovely fruit with tobacco and cedar nuances and is fully developed – Highly Recommended Plus.
1986 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
In 1986 abundant spring rain led to very dense canopies and some herbaceous character. Solid vintage with lots of aging potential. 13.4% alcohol.
The 1986 was made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark in color this wine has a lovely cedary perfume with a tinge of earthiness. Balanced with great structure and fruit it is flavorful and delicious to drink now, but with a long life ahead – Outstanding.
The Santa Barbara Club
June 15, 2015
The Santa Barbara Club ( http://www.santabarbaraclub.org/ ) was founded in 1892. It is a beautiful membership only club located in the heart of Santa Barbara. Chef Humberto Perez has been at the club for 22 years and head chef for the last 5 years. His food is consistently outstanding. He is assisted by head server Tina Korisheli and a great supporting staff.
I attend wine and food events here quite often and it is one to the best venues in Santa Barbara for wine and food. Our meal here was discussed with Chef Perez and he and his team flawlessly executed the event.
Food And Wine
Appetizer and Champagne
This dish was refined and delicious and great with the Champagne.
2002 Fallet-Dart Brut
The small house of Fallet-Dart has been a favorite Champagne of mine for some 20 years. The 2002 is lush and rounded with great elegance and finesse and is drinking beautifully now.
Five Course Menu and Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
Stuffed Medallion of Rabbit
I love rabbit and this was beautifully prepared and very flavorful. It was a great match with the wines.
2010 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2010 was a very unusual year with lots of spring rains and a very late bud break. Long cool summer with a late October harvest. Different texturally than our norm with a high degree of transparency.
2010 produced 18,968 bottles. Bottle # 15814 tasted.
The 2010 was made with 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine is dark in color with a lovely perfume of berry, cassis, and plum with a tinge of cedar. It has lots of fruit and depth and is supple with well integrated tannins and should age beautifully – Outstanding.
2009 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2009 was another warm year. Havest began in late Sept, fully ripe with good nuance and power.14.1% alcohol.
2009 produced 17,280 bottles. Bottle #01572 tasted.
The 2009 was made with 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. Dark in color the wine has an intense perfume with hints of plum and cedar. Round, full, intense and lush with soft underlying tannins it is very enjoyable now, but will repay aging for many, many years – Outstanding Plus.
2005 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2005 was great vintage across the board. Storms in June reduced crop size. October harvest under perfect cool autumnal skies, in contrast to 2002-2004. Very concentrated yet balanced, sure to outlive the winemaker. 13.9% alcohol.
2005 produced 18,043 bottles. Bottle #17,217 tasted.
The 2005 was made with 75% Caberent Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark in color with a deep cassis perfume showing hints of cedar the wine has heaps of lush rounded fruit with cedar tinges. It is loaded with flavor and has great intensity and structure and will age probably as long as you want to keep it – Exceptional.
2004 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2004 was a Mid Sept harvest with a lot of heat and ripeness. A strongly flavored vintage that is aging slowly.
2004 produced 15,240 bottles. Bottle #07279 tasted.
The 2004 was made with 75% Caberent Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. The wine has a dark color and a lovely cedar tinged cassis perfume with hints of spice. It is rich and full with lots of fruit and flavor with structure and backbone. Still evolving this will repay patience and develop beautifully over many years – Outstanding Plus.
Duck Breast with Parsnip Puree and Huckleberry Compote
Perfectly cooked duck breast with a delicious compliment of Parsnip and Huckleberry, this was delicious with the wines.
1994 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1994 was a famous year for California. Mid-late October harvest, low sugar, long season, 13% alcohol, I prefer the estate to the OVR this year.
1994 produced 18,270 bottles. Bottle #10,215 tasted.
The 1994 was made with 75% Caberent Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark in color the wine showed an oxidized quality with and underlying earthy vegetativeness and lacked fruit. A bad bottle.
Another bottle tasted later (bottle #17,737) showed a very different quality without any oxidation. It was, in fact, great and yet another example of provenance and the fact that there are no great wines, only great bottles. Properly stored, the 1994 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine as the following note will attest.
Dark color with a great perfume showing cassis, mulberry, and cedar with a touch of spice and mint the wine has layers of fruit and is supple, lush and flavorful with cassis, mulberry, cedar, and mint nuances. With great balance and intensity, it has a lot of charm as well as depth. This is a rare combination and the wine is incredibly delicious with a long life ahead – Exceptional.
1994 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
1994 produced 6,380 bottles. Bottle #05807 tasted.
Dark in color this wine has a lovely perfume with spice and cedar tinges. It is rich, full, and rounded with great structure and balance and will age effortlessly for a very long time ahead – Outstanding Plus.
1993 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1993 was an October harvest. Normal year. Average crop size, alcohol 13%, aging slowly.
1993 produced 15,141 bottles. Bottle #12,917 tasted.
The 1993 was made with 75% Caberent Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. It was the first year that these percentages were used and they remained the same until 2007. The wine has a dark color and a lovely perfume of cedar and cassis. It is rounded and flavorful with good underlying structure and lots of fruit. Delicious now, but no hurry to drink as it will keep a long time – Outstanding.
1993 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
1993 produced 5,955 bottles. Bottle #04832 tasted.
Dark in color with a stunning perfume this wine is very fruit driven with structure and depth. It is beautifully balanced with lots of flavor and a long finish. It will be an interesting comparison to have this wine with the 1994 Old Vine Reserve in 10 years’ time – Outstanding Plus.
1983 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1983 was another El Nino year with all- time record rainfall. Bigger that ’82 but still a light vintage for us.12.6% alcohol.
1983 produced 5,502 bottles. Bottle #5,310 tasted.
The 1983 was made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is dark in color with a faint amber edge and shows a lovely cedary perfume. It is rounded with a good backbone and has subtle, but complex, fruit flavors with cedary nuances. Very elegant, yet flavorful, this is a lovely claret style wine that is delicious to drink now at over 30 years of age and undoubtedly will keep for many more years – Outstanding.
Veal Ravoli with Wild Mushroom and Veal Reduction
A really delicious, balanced, and savory dish, this was excellent with the wines.
1998 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1998 was an El Nino year with the most rain since 82-’83. Late October harvest, small crop. Pretty but the lightest vintage in the 1990s.
1998 produced 18,956 bottles. Bottle #18,485 tasted.
The 1998 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. With a deep color this wine has a lovely perfume with hints of cedar and mint. It is balanced, elegant, and very harmonious with subtle cedar tinged fruit and a very nice finish. Now at a peak, but should hold for many years – Outstanding.
1998 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
1998 produced 4,520 bottles. Bottle #0243 tasted.
Deep color with a nice perfume offering subtle hints of cedar, spice, and cassis, this wine is balanced and very harmonious with a well-defined structure. It is delicious now and should keep for a very long time – Outstanding.
1997 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1997 was another benchmark year, best since 1973. Early bud break, mid-Sept harvest, riper than any time since 1980. Powerful, balanced, aging slowly.
1997 produced 23,490 bottles. Bottle #07648 tasted.
The 1997 was made with 75% Caberent Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc.Dark in color this wine has a great cassis perfume with floral cedar nuances. It has lots of rich fruit and is rounded and flavorful with beautiful balance. Well-structured it should continue to evolve for many years – Outstanding Plus.
1997 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
1997 produced 4,930 bottles. Bottle #0243 tasted.
With a dark color this wine has a great cassis perfume with hints of cedar and mint. It is rich and rounded with loads of fruit and has richness, structure and depth. This is yet another very great Old Vine Reserve with a long life ahead – Exceptional.
Rack of Venison Tenderloin
This was really tasty. Mild venison beautifully prepared and complemented by carmelized shallots and blackberry sauce was perfect with the wines.
1981 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1981 was Jeffrey Patterson’s first year. Early spring led to a September harvest. Solid wine. 12.7% alcohol.
1981 produced 7,833 bottles. Bottle #6422 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has a dark color with an amber edge and a deep perfume that is spicy with a tinge of black pepper and a touch of earthiness. Flavorful and rounded with tinges of spice and pepper it is very tasty with just a touch of dryness on the finish – Highly Recommened Plus.
1980 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
In 1980 a challenging spring led to uneven flowering. Ripe yet herbaceous. Somewhat confounding. 12.5% alcohol.
1980 produced 5,300 bottles and 72 magnums. Bottle #2379 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has a dark color with an amber edge and a deep perfume showing a touch of black pepper. Flavorful with faint herbal tinges it is flavorful and has depth and richness with a solid structure. Lovely to drink now, but should keep – Highly Recommended Plus.
1979 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1979 is a stylish vintage that had the most unusual apricot kernel complexity in its youth. There were still apricot orchards in the foothill below at that time.13% alcohol.
1979 production was 7400 bottles and 150 magnums. Bottle #1066 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has a dark color with an amber edge and a perfume showing a cedary quality with a herbal undertone. It has subtle fruit with hints of cedar and just a tinge of dried herbs. Elegant and refined the wine is at a peak – Highly Recommended Plus.
1978 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1978 is a personal favorite from the 70s decade. Has great balance and purity. 13% alcohol.
1978 production was 7500 bottles and150 magnums. Bottle #2140 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The drought ended in 1978 and many beautiful classically styled Cabernets were made that year. This is an example. The wine has a dark color with very faint amber at the edge and has a great perfume that opens with air to reveal tinges of cedar, mint, and spice with a subtle floral fruit nuance. Beautifully balanced it is supple and rounded with complex flavors showing hints of cedar and mint and has depth and richness with a long finish. This is a delicious claret styled wine that should keep for many more years – Outstanding Plus.
1977 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1977 was the second year of drought and even more severe. Again shows the high extract style of previous vintages.13.9% alcohol.
1977 production was 2,400 bottles. Bottle # 1092 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The drought years of 1977 and 1976 produced many lovely wines that have aged beautifully and show no sign of not keeping for many more years. This is an example. I have enjoyed this wine many times over the years. The wine has a dark color with amber at the edge and shows a deep perfume with subtle fruit and hints of tobacco and mint. on the palate, it has lots of flavor and is well structured and balanced with a lot of elegance and complexity. A very complete wine, this is great example of the aging ability of California Cabernet from the 1977 drought year – Outstanding Plus.
A nice selection of cheeses was presented at the end. It is always nice at the end of the meal to have some cheese with the remaining wines that each person saves.
June 16, 2015
James Sly, a very accomplished and experienced chef, opened his restaurant Sly’s (http://www.slysonline.com /) in Carpenteria just south of Santa Barbara in 2008. Since that time Sly’s has garnered a loyal and well deserved following for great food that is beautifully prepared. James uses only the best ingredients and is a masterful chef. His abalone and prime porterhouse steak “Peter Luger style” are two of my favorite dishes in the Santa Barbara area. He ages his steaks and they are wonderful! All of his meal suggestions for the wines worked superbly and were delicious. And, the service was excellent.
Food and Wine
Appetizer and Champagne
Cayucos Abalone “Doré”
Sly’s is famous for perfectly cooked farm raised abalone. This is one of my favorite dishes with Champagne. The terrific Blanc de Blancs was a great complement.
2002 Launois Père et Fils Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil
For many years this small family owned domaine has been a favorite Champagne. I buy it every year. All Grand Cru from the great home for Chardonnay, Le Mesnil, the 2002 is drinking beautifully. Creamy with nice underlying acidity it is delicious now, but will keep for many more years.
Four Course Menu and Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
Roast Loin of Veal “au jus”
The perfectly prepared “sous vide” roast loin of veal served in its natural juices was pale pink, succulent, very flavorful, and great with the wines.
2008 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2008 was a warm year with an early harvest in mid-September. Good depth and balance, very youthful, full of promise. 13.5% alcohol. 2008 produced 15,060 bottles. Bottle #05748 tasted.
The 2008 was made with 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. The wine is dark in color with a cedary perfume and a touch of earthiness. Structured with lots of fruit and depth it is flavor and rich with hints of cassis and cedar. Still very backward with tannins to be resolved patience is required here. But, with time the wine should evolve beautifully – Outstanding.
2007 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2007 was like 2005 and 2006. This vintage was harvested in October with a very slow pace. Fully ripe but no trace of heaviness. A great year across CA. 13.5% alcohol.
2007 Produced 18,240 bottles. Bottle #07656 tasted.
The 2007 was made from 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 1½% Cabernet Franc and 1½% Petit Verdot. This was the first year Petit Verdot was added to the blend and this has continued in every year since with the % varying from 1% to 2%. The wine has a dark color and a stunning perfume of cassis, blackberry, and cedar. Very rich with layers of fruit it is rich and rounded with well integrated tannins and a long lasting finish. This 2007 looks to be one of the greatest Mount Eden Vineyard Cabernets – Exceptional.
2006 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2006 was in stark contrast to 2005. The 2006 was a large harvest starting in October, a bit of heat drove the ripeness and the wine is fairly big but ultimately balanced. 13.9% alcohol.
2006 produced 32,484 bottles which is the largest harvest to date. Bottle #25,979 tasted.
The 2006 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc and was the last year of a 14 year run for this blend. Dark in color the wine has a lovely perfume with tinges of spice and cedar. It has lovely cassis like fruit with tinges of cedar and spice and is well structured with a firm backbone. This is a Cabernet that cries out for additional bottle age – Outstanding.
2003 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
2003 was very much a carbon copy of 2002 but without the Brett issue. Aging slowly and solidly.
2003 produced 28,404 bottles. Bottle #14,016 tasted.
The 2003 was made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark in color the wine has a deep perfume with hints of plum, blackberry, and cassis. Full, rich, and rounded with lots of fruit and a soft underlying tannin it should evolve beautifully over many years – Outstanding.
Carpenter Ranch Squab “en salmis”
This squab dish was marvelous. Made from squab grown at the famous local Carpenter Ranch, James cooked it perfectly and served it sliced in its own reduction juices. This dish was a classic with the wines.
1992 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1992 was not at drought year! September harvest. My third great vintage. Powerful yet balanced. 13.6% alcohol, aging beautifully.
1992 produced 13,879 bottles. Bottle #07,138 tasted.
The 1992 was made with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. Dark in color the wine has a nice berry perfume with hints of cedar and a faint earthy nuance. It has lovely cedar tinged fruit and is balanced and flavorful with soft underlying tannins – Outstanding.
1992 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
1992 produced 5,955 bottles. Bottle #05,297 tasted.
Dark in color with a gorgeous cedar tinged perfume showing hints of spice and cassis the wine has lots of rich fruit and is soft and rounded with great flavor and balance. It is delicious now for the fruit, but has the promise of a very long life – Outstanding Plus.
1985 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1985 was my first great vintage. Moderate crop, moderate weather, beautiful autumn harvest. Solid core with complexity and style. A strong contrast to the high extraction of the 1970s.
1985 produced 7,460 bottles. Bottle #0552 tasted.
The 1985 was made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has a dark color with an amber rim and a complex perfume with subtle hints of cedar, spice, cedar and pepper. Showing lovely cedar tinges fruit it is soft and rounded, yet with good grip on the finish. Fully mature, but showing no signs of fatigue – Outstanding.
1984 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1984 had a very early budbreak and very early harvest. Solid concentration in a tannic frame in its youth.
1984 produced 7,740 bottles. Bottle #2,336 tasted.
The 1984 was made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has a dark color with a faint amber edge and a deep perfume with a peppery, cedary complexity. It has lovely fruit with a nice cedar tinged complexity and a faint peppery quality. With good backbone and structure there appear to be many years of life ahead – Highly Recommended Plus.
1982 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1982 was an El Nino year with record rainfall. A large crop and a light year given the winter rains.
1982 produced 14,993 bottles. Bottle #11,491 tasted.
The 1982 was made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. With a deep color the wine shows a nice perfume with a faint cedary quality accented by a toasty nuance and a touch of spice. Rounded with nice flavors and a good backbone it is now fully mature – Highly Recommended.
Aged USDA Prime Porterhouse “Rare” Peter Luger Style
This is one of James’s signature dishes. It is always fabulous. The meat is purchased and aged in house. Perfectly prepared, it is presented sliced on the plate in its own juices. In this instance it was served with my favorite accompaniment, Sly’s half and half, which is half French fries and half crispy thin onion rings. This was a great match with the wines.
1990 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1990 was my second great vintage. Drought year. A fulcrum year. I had been at Mount Eden for ten years and the combination of our new canopy management and a terrific growing season all came together. First year of estate (young vines) and Old Vine Reserve (Martin Ray plantings.) 12.4% alcohol.
1990 produced 12,651 bottles. Bottle #07464 tasted.
The 1990 was made with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. Dark in color with a deep cassis perfume tinged with spice the wine is rounded, lush, and flavorful with great texture and length. It is delicious now, but there is no hurry to pull the cork. This will age for a very long time into the future – Outstanding Plus.
1990 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
1990 produced 5,603 bottles. Bottle #04367 tasted.
The wine has a dark color and a deep cassis perfume tinged with cedar and mint. It has layers of cassis tinged fruit and is complex and rich with lots of depth and flavor. With great balance and structure this looks to be a wine for the ages – Exceptional
1991 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1991 was a drought year. Extremely late harvest and substantial. Classic style overshadowed by the great 1990. 12.2% alcohol.
1991 produced 11,490 bottles. Bottle #04,638 tasted.
The 1991 was made with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. Dark in color the wine has a deep cassis and plum perfume with lot of fruit elegance and flavor. Rounded and supple it is flavorful and a pleasure to drink. With great balance it is fully mature now, but will live for a very long time – Outstanding.
1991 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Old Vine Reserve
1991 produced 4,284 bottles. Bottle #3910 tasted.
Dark in color with a gorgeous cassis like perfume showing floral cedar nuances the wine has very pure fruit with suggestions of cassis and berry with a touch of cedar. It is elegant and rounded with lovely flavors and beautiful balance and is delicious to drink now. Even so, there is no hurry. This wine will keep for a very long time – Outstanding Plus.
1976 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1976 was a drought year and the wine shows massive extract typical of the decade. 13.9% alcohol.
1976 production was 2,100 bottles. Bottle #1,497 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The first of the 70s drought years, 1976 has produced many great long lived wines. This is one. The wine has a dark color with an amber edge and has a deep cassis perfume with a hint of plum and cedar. Cedary with cassis like fruit and a slight oriental spice quality it is flavorful and balanced with lots of elegance match by depth and richness. Fully mature now and delicious to drink there is no need to hurry. This wine should remain at this level for a very long time – Outstanding Plus.
Truffled Brillat-Savarin, Pecorino Stagionato, and Midnight Moon Goat’s Milk Gouda
These are all great cheeses which are personal favorites. They are sourced from our excellent local cheese store, C’est Cheese (http://www.cestcheese.com/ ) and were delicious with the old Cabernets.
1975 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1975 is massive in style. Highly extracted and tannic. Built to last forever. 13.9% alcohol.
1975 production was 3,070 bottles. Bottle #3,096 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark in color with an amber edge the wine has a very nice cedary perfume and has lots of richness. The fruit is accented by hints of cedar and there is a lot of underlying structure. It is very drinkable now after 40 years, but amazingly maybe it will last forever – Outstanding Plus.
1974 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
1974 was another great year for the Cabernet. Winemaker Merry Edwards first vintage. Very powerful, highly extracted style. 13.9% alcohol.
1974 production was 5,245 bottles. Bottle #4,175 tasted.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
1974 was the year that launched the new wave of California Cabernet Sauvignon producers. There were many great wines. But, interestingly some of the wine from the years that were just around the corner seem to be aging better. Having said that, there are some 1974 Cabernets that have aged marvelously. This is one. Dark in color with an amber edge the wine has a lovely perfume with cedar tinges. It structured with great fruit and intensity yet is harmonious and lush with balance and lovely fruit. Very impressive after 40 years, but showing no signs of fading – Outstanding Plus.
1973 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate “First Bottling”
1973 was a benchmark wine for Mount Eden. The finest Cabernet made in CA that year. Depth and complexity similar to first growth Bordeaux. 13.0% alcohol.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, there were two bottlings of the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon made 6 months apart. The reason the the two bottlings is not known. But, I seem to remember being told at the time that there were some operational issues with bottling. As a result, bottling had to be done at two different times. This seems to make some sense as Mount Eden Vineyards in the early days had a lot of problems. These included problems with personnel, organization, and disputes among the owners. Also, I remember being told at one time that the shareholders were trying to sell the property and winery, but thankfully that never happened.
The “First Bottling” was made in August 1975 and totaled 4700 bottles. Bottle #382 tasted.
Great balance was the hallmark of 1973 California Cabernet Sauvignons. That is very evident in the two bottlings of the 1973 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. I loved the wines and bought them on release and have enjoyed many bottles over the decades past. They have remained harmonious, flavorful, and a delight to drink and show no signs of fatigue.
Dark in color with an amber edge the wine has a great perfume of cedar and spice with a nice underlying floral berry quality. Balanced, supple, and elegant this is a great claret styled wine that is absolutely delicious to drink now, has been delicious to drink for decades, and looks to be capable of remaining at a very high level for many years to come – Outstanding Plus.
1973 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate “Second Bottling”
This second bottling was made in January 1976 and also totaled 4700 bottles. Bottle #3,718 tasted.
The wine seems almost identical to the “first bottling”. Over the years I have noticed virtually no difference. Maybe this second bottling has a touch more cedar. Other than that is has the same great elegance and style – Outstanding Plus.
1972 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
In 1972 only 1068 bottles (89 cases) were produced. It was a difficult year due to an extremely cold winter. Sold privately to shareholders. 13.0% alcohol.
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is dark in color with an amber tinge and shows an interesting briary perfume with a hint of cedar. A bit plummy, but flavorful and with a firm underlying backbone, it is fully mature and still very nice to drink – Highly Recommended.
CONCLUSION AND LINKS TO MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS ARTICLES
In my lifetime of many “once in a lifetime wine events”, this was yet another. It was remarkable for many reasons, but the consistency of the wines over a very long period of time is incredible. With the one exception of the poorly stored 1994 (and retasting the same wine later it was clear that the bottle we had suffered from poor storage sometime before Mort Maizlish acquired it), none of the wines were seriously flawed. Some were fully mature and some gave a slight indication that they might have been slightly better in the recent past. Nonetheless, this should be expected from a range of wines dating back over many years. And, as it is with all wines, it must always be assumed that there will be some bottle variation no matter how slight. But, the remarkable fact is that most of the wines gave every indication that they have decades of life ahead. And, the quality from vintage to vintage was also amazing.
Martin Ray got things started and now Jeffrey Patterson has put in more time at the estate than Martin! In the beginning of Mount Eden Vineyards very few knew the potential. But, as I have pointed out, my friends and I were there from the beginning. And, with the launch of The Underground Wineletter in 1979 I started writing about and recommending the Mount Eden Vineyards wines. I have old Mount Eden Vineyards wines in my cellar and drink them often. Of course, Mount Eden Vineyards makes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from vines planted on the same property. This too is amazing as the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs can make the same claim for consistency and quality as the Cabernet Sauvignons. I’ll have more on that in a later article. Stay tuned!
And a wine event is made even more special when the food is really good and made to complement the wines. That was certainly the case here as this event was blessed with remarkable consistency in the food which perfectly matched the wines. Kudos to the chefs! All in all, this was a very special and unique event. I am blessed and honored to have been part of putting the event together. But, having done that it was a real pleasure to participate and enjoy the great wines and delicious food. This is what food and wine is all about!
Below are links to Mount Eden Vineyards articles from the on line Underground Wineletter. And, as mentioned earlier, the Retrospective Reviews and copies of the first 18 issues (1979 -1982) of the print version of The Underground Wineletter also have many reviews of Mount Eden Vineyard wines from the very early years (click here  to read those).
Mount Eden Vinyards and Domaine Eden Something Old And Something New 
September 3, 2011
Mount Eden Vineyards And Domaine Eden 
September 11, 2012
Mount Eden Vineyards And Domaine Eden 
September 12, 2014