A Trio of 1990s Californian Wines

I usually avoid reading about a wine before I taste it but I could not resist looking up the three bottles of 1991 Mayacamas, Cabernet Sauvignon I picked up from the dump bin.  I had recently perused the article Mayacamas Vineyards – tasting notes and more, from John Gilman so I figured it was acceptable to read it again.  Mayacamas wines are traditionally made and purposefully capable of aging for decades.  The tasting note from John Gilman reads more interesting than the bottle I opened but what I particularly found similar was his age recommendation.  He recommends 2017-2050.  I double-decanted this bottle after which it took four to five hours to open up.  It was not particularly interesting at first but those hours of air revealed a wine which could develop like those old 1960s Louis Martini, Special Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon.  Fortunately there are two bottles left so hopefully Lou and I can get a few other vintages together to drink in five years.  The 1991 Jordan, Cabernet Sauvignon was surprisingly robust while we drunk it.  It revealed more roast along with still obvious structure but it is the plentiful acidity that kept it going on.  The 1993 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon was interesting while it lasted and probably best in large format.  Drink up and drink fast!  These wines all came from the same cellar with not-the-best storage.  I do not know the history of this cellar but the bottles from the 1990s have great labels and appear to be in good shape.  The earlier bottles have more stained and tattered labels along with more variability in quality.  I wonder if something happened in the late 1980s.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


1991 Mayacamas Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley –
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Mt. Veeder/Mayacamas mountains.  It was aged for two and a half years in American oak casks and French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was of tart red fruit, cedar, and fresh greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth the tart red fruit continued with lots of acidity and very fine notes of wood box.  There was a gentle structure along with tart red flavors in the earthy aftertaste.  It does not possess huge depth at this point but comes across as young.  It tastes like it will last forever.   *** 2018-2033.


1991 Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley –
This wine is a blend of 81.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, and 2.8% Cabernet Franc which was aged 12 months in 65% French oak and 35% American oak.  Alcohol 12.8%.  The strong nose was of roast and dark red fruit.  In the mouth the red fruit continued along with a little licorice.  There was a lot of acidity on the tongue tip and sides.  The flavors were still compact becoming tart red with a wood note in the finish followed by ripe tannins which coated the mouth.  Still strong for its age.  ** Now-2018.


1993 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley –
Alcohol 13.8%.  The nose was older with mature aromas, roasted earth, and wet tobacco.  In the mouth the roasted notes followed the nose with some red fruit, wood box, good acidity, and resolved tannins.  Reasonably enjoyable while it lasted but it begun to fall apart before the bottle was complete.  ** while it lasted but overall: * Now.


  1. May 16, 2013 at 10:05 am

    The description of the Mayacamas 1991 is making my mouth water just reading it!

    • May 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

      I am glad you enjoyed the description. I’ll follow up with another description in several years time.

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