Mount Eden Estate Old Vine Reserve Cabernet 1997

Tasting Notes

Release Date: Fall 2000

The two vineyards we farm for the "Old Vine Reserve" were planted by our founder some 43 years ago in the rocks and shale of Mount Eden. Because of the antiquity and the inherent struggle, the yields are so low as to be absurd and the character so profound as to be absurd. Generally speaking, the harder the vine works, the more it expresses its site. The more it expresses its site, the greater its individuality. This is not a "cookie cutter" valley floor Cabernet with all the plushness of your father's Oldsmobile: no, this is a "true" mountain wine with the precision, depth, and acidity of your best friend's Ducaté.

This is the last wine to be released from the phenomenal '97 vintage. A winemaker's dream, the weather was beautiful, ripening the late maturing Cabernet Sauvignon fully and evenly. Riper than the norm, flavors of cocoa, cassis, earth, and sweet French oak are seamless from front to back. This wine was aged a full two years in new Bordelaise chateau barrels. Before bottling gently, we lightly egg-white fined, using no filtration.

Tasting very forward at present, there is sufficient depth and structure for a thirty year span.



Tech Notes

Sorry, technical notes are not available for this vintage.


95 points ¬†Wine Spectator - '97 California Cabernet Retrospective  - 2008 Web Only

Aging very gracefully, with ripe, fresh currant and black cherry fruit that’s elegant, supple and polished, especially the tannins. Complex and rich, with hints of hazelnut, nutmeg and fresh earth. Great length, with long engaging finish. Drink now through 2015.

91 points Wine Spectator - May 2001

One for the cellar. Firmly tannic, yet richly flavored, with layers of earthy currant, anise, mushroom, sage, tar and cedar. Finishes where it began–with rich, earthy tannins. Best from 2003 through 2012.

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - May/June 2001

Full deep ruby. Blackcurrant, brambly red berries, smoked meat, iron, tobacco, bitter chocolate, spice cake and loam on the soil-inflected nose. Fat, sweet and concentrated, with strong fruit flavors of currant and wild strawberry complicated by notes of roasted meat and loam. Layered and strong in extract. Finishes with chewy, toothcoating tannins and excellent length. This ageworthy cabernet showed even stronger fruit with 24 hours in the recorked bottle.

87 points Robert Parker Jr's The Wine Advocate - June 2002

Issue # 141

The dark ruby/purple-colored 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vine Reserve offers tight, unexpressive aromatics that reveal hints of minerals and black fruit. Although austere, this wine is elegant, medium-bodied, pure, and finely crafted, with black currant and cherry fruit. It will need 5-6 years of cellaring and will keep for 15-20.