March 31, 2010

A Well-Aged California Cabernet: 1989 Laurel Glen Sonoma Mountain

Laurel Glen has been around since 1981, and has developed a quiet history of creating age-worthy wines at prices that won't break the bank. Many of their mid-to-late-80's Cabernets are still drinking well today. Saturday night, I popped the '89. It showed really nicely,especially considering that '89 was one of the wors vintages of the '80s for California Cabernet. Unlike many modern-styled Cali Cabs made with higher alcohol, overt fruit, and low acidity, Laurel Glen, and older-styled Cabs like Diamond Creek amd S. Anderson, with low(er) alcohol and high(er) acid, tend to age quite well and develop tertiary characteristics over time. It should be noted that this wine checked in at 12.5% alcohol.

I strained the wine into a decanter as the cork was shredded to pieces by the time I finally wrestled it out of the bottle. Initially, the wine seemed tired...just couldn't figure what she wanted to be. I was concerned...After about 20 minutes...Hello...Mint, tobacco, cedar nose. Palate features leathery candied red fruit, more tobacco, and a sweet dark plumminess that fills the mouth. Just a kiss of acidity hanging in to let you know she's alive...and it keeps getting better with air. Really nice balance and length. I don't drink a lot of California Cabernet, but I know a good one when it hits. Terrific.


  1. Sounds like an awesome evening. Did you purchase the wine at release, or in the secondary market? How long did you have it on hand? I'm terribly impatient, and anything older than 6 months I keep off site so I don't get tempted. Even then, I just drank 2 bottles of 01 Barolo with friends, leaving me with nothing older than the 04 Vintage wines.

    I'm actually preparing to find some older items, which is why I asked your source. I've been quite tempted lately to secure some 80s and 90s for family and friends, who have never had them at tasting rooms or events.

  2. Hey Matt. Thanks for the visit. I've had this for a couple of years. Sourced on the secondary market. I've had good luck with numerous late 80s and early 90s Cabs. I'll shoot you an email with some ideas on where to look.