Mount Eden Estate Old Vine Reserve Cabernet 1996

Tasting Notes

Release Date: Fall 1999

Much has been said in the annals of wine writing about the grip and integrity of old vine wine. On the objective side the sacrifice in yield is substantial. From 3.9 acres of Cabernet wines, we yielded 3.6 tons of grapes, less than one tone per acre. Off the charts in the world of viticulture, from this ridiculous equation comes a wine of unrelenting force and character. No amount of cutting-edge winemaking is needed here, just the careful, clean middle path and let the vineyard speak for itself.

The 1996 is a massive wine from a vintage characterized by ripeness. It is deep and mysterious in the nose with nuances of earth, olive, chocolate and briar. Expansive mid-palate flavors of licorice, black cherry and sweet oak are framed by tannins that suggests five to ten years of development ahead. Produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon planted over forty years ago on their own roots and fermented in small open-top fermentors, this wine was aged twenty-two months in new French Chateau Frere barrels with light egg-white fining prior to bottling.

Profound and rare, this bottling will reward any serious collector of California Cabernet Sauvignon.



Tech Notes

Sorry, technical notes not available for this vintage.


92+ points Robert Parker Jr's The Wine Advocate - December 1998

Issue # 120

The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vine Reserve is more highly extracted than the 1995, as well as full-bodied, with a saturated ruby/purple color, and a restrained but blossoming nose of minerals, licorice, spicy oak, black cherries, and cassis. Pure, rich, dense, and promising, but destined for considerable longevity, this is a wine that should be cellared for 8-10 years. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2035.

Old Vine, Mount Eden’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from two parcels planted in 1955 and 1958. I was impressed with both the 1995 and 1996.

91(+?) points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - May/June 1999

Saturated deep ruby. Brighter but more reticent, distinctly blacker aromas of cassis, black cherry, violet, iodine, herbs and oak spice. Juicy and intensely flavored, with sharp flavor definition and an almost medicinal austerity in the middle. Conveys a stronger impression of acidity. Finishes with firm but not aggressive tannins and excellent persistence.

89 points Wine Spectator - December 1999

Firm without being tight, it’s complex and concentrated, with focused currant, wild berry and raspberry. Shows tannic strength on the finish. Best from 2002 through 2010.