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The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a powerful, black ruby/purple-colored wine with cherry liqueur-like flavors, full body, loamy, earthy scents, and a terrific, long finish that suggests 20-30 years of ageability.Robert Parker | 94 RPOpenly fruity and seductive, with layers of cherry, currant and berry; extraordinary flavors and balance.--Chateau Montelena vertical. Drink now through 2012. — JLWine Spectator | 92 WSGood ruby-red. Spicy, roasted aromas of cassis, black plum, toasty oak and pepper. Lush, jammy and a bit undifferentiated; showing its baby fat today. Seems distinctly less lively than the ’95, but the tannins are quite fine for the vintage and there excellent finishing persistence.Vinous Media | 90 VM
The 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard, is a beauty. The healthy ruby/purple color is followed by classic, unevolved but promising aromas of minerals, cedar, smoke, and black currants. The wine is medium to full-bodied, with admirable purity, a sweet, lush mid-palate, and ripe tannin in the finish. The top-notch 1997 is a classic, restrained. Anticipated maturity: now-2020.Robert Parker | 92 RPFull ruby-red. Expressive nose combines black raspberry, currant, black cherry, chocolate, tobacco and sandalwood. Lush and sweet but fresh, with a firm edge of acidity giving shape to the flavors. Big and mouthfilling but not at all heavy. The tannins are suave and fine. A bit dominated by the oak today. This wine is virtually always in an awkward stage about six months after the bottling, says Bart Araujo, although I recall that the ’96 was atypically showy a year ago.Vinous Media | 92+ VMNo written review provided | 92 W&S
There are 10,200 cases of the remarkable 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. Opaque purple-colored with a dense, chewy, full-bodied personality, it displays abundant cassis, mineral, and earth notes. This brilliantly made, super-concentrated, pure, blockbuster possesses sweet tannin as well as a terrific finish. Having added additional weight since last year, this sumptuous, multilayered, profoundly concentrated Cabernet contains 14% alcohol. It is a candidate for 25-30 years of longevity. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2030.Robert Parker | 98 RPThis California Cab serves up lots of ripe, supple black cherry, currant and plum-laced flavors, as well as pretty touches of earth, anise and mineral. Turns smooth and supple, finishing with polished tannins. Best from 2001 through 2015. 11,700 cases made. — JLWine Spectator | 95 WSGood medium-dark red with a healthy rim. Sexy red berry aromas are lifted by exotic spices and complicated by notes of smoke and leather (Barrett noted that this vintage showed a brett element early on but today the leathery nuance is just another note of complexity in the wine, as it was in a sample I tried two years ago as part of my 1997 horizontal tasting.) The palate delivers a lovely combination of sweetness and silky, fine-grained texture, with tactile raspberry and redcurrant fruit delivering surprising freshness and energy. Not hugely concentrated or thick but finishes broad and deep, with a firm tannic spine to support continued graceful evolution. Barrett noted that he was back to "moderate maceration--just two weeks" in 1997, and that this was the first year that he hand-harvested his fruit at night. (14% alcohol)Vinous Media | 93 VM
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