Cedar Mountain Winery
1998 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Blanches Vineyard
California: Livermore Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Cedar Mountain Winery.
Mission Codename: The Time Capsule
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a 10 year old Cabernet Sauvignon – by whatever means necessary!
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Cedar Mountain Winery
Wine Subject: 1998 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Earl Ault
Backgrounder: Our Operatives have been inundating us with requests for a 10 year-old Cabernet Sauvignon. Such a request could prove tricky for a normal wine organization, but not for The Wine Spies. Utilizing our network of assets we were able to come up locate a great Livermore Valley winery called Cedar Mountain, which is surrounded by its 14 acres of estate vineyards. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below to see how he was able to procure a few cases for our Operatives. Not an Operative yet? Sign up for free today!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet in color, showing its age a little, with a very springy surface that settles to still very quickly, color right out to the edges and long, thin legs that slowly creep down the glass
Smell – Deeply concentrated aromas of earthen plum, dark berry, tobacco leaf, soft leather, cedar and tar
Feel – Soft and balanced with a roundness up-front, followed by a cool-and-fast feeling across the mid-palate, where soft tannins take gentle hold
Taste – Richly extracted flavors the echo the nose, with oak and sweewood added just under the surface
Finish – Rich, delicious and long, with a mild dryness and sweet oak and smoky plum flavors that linger
Conclusion – If stored properly, Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself to long bottle aging. A ten year-old like this Estate Cab from Cedar Mountain could still be considered somewhat young by some collectors. If you have never had the patience to cellar a wine for 10 years, now is your chance to taste a great wine – without breaking the bank. This wine may not have even reached its peak, but I say that it is drinking beautifully right now. You’ll find a softness in this wine, but still plenty of concentrated aromas and dark, dusky flavors. This wine gets a big Wine Spies recommendation.
Livermore Valley. For those of you familiar with the city of Livermore, wine is not exactly the first thing that springs to mind, right?
What you need to know about Livermore Valley is this: The region is one with a rich wine history that dates back to before the dark days of Prohibition. In fact, the area was one of the largest wine growing regions of its day in America.
In 1889, a wine from Livermore Valley were the first American wines to win International Gold Medals in Paris, predating by almost 100 years The Great Paris Tasting that upset the wine world so.
Today, Livermore Valley is experiencing a revival like no other wine region in the world and we were honored when we were offered todays wine from Cedar Mountain.
It is a rare thing to be able to taste a ten year-old wine of quality – today’s wine is a great example of aged Cab and we encourage you to try some now, and hold some for a little while longer.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Cedar Mountain Estate vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
A rich ruby red body color with brick red edges typifies this 10 year old Cab. Aromas of currents, pepper, and cherries follow the initial tobacco and dried fruit bouquet. Smooth full palate with bright acid finish and muted tannins complete the tasting experience. Great to pair with the usual suspects (red meats, game, and chocolate), it also works well with Middle Eastern foods and Curries. Aged at the winery, this is wine is best consumed in the next year or so.
Rich and fully extracted. Plum and tobacco notes finished with generous oak. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from our estate vineyard and barrel aged for two years in new French Oak barrels.
About The Winery:
Cedar Mountain Winery was established in the Livermore Valley in 1990 by Linda and Earl Ault. The winery is surrounded by the Ault’s 14 acre vineyard, Blanches Vineyard.
Their first release was the 1990 Estate Chardonnay. That year they made a small lot of Cabernet Sauvignon, 160 cases, which was released for sale in 1993 and rapidly gained national attention.
The following year Cedar Mountain produced another Gold Medal winning Cabernet, the 1991 Estate, setting a pattern to be followed by all the later vintages which continue to wine gold and double gold medals.
Cedar Mountain Winery combines the creative interests of Linda and Earl – wine, food, and art. Earl is an accomplished sculptor, watercolorist, and large format photographer. Linda is a recognized amateur gourmet chef. Together they manage the farming activities and operate the winery. Earl is the winemaker.
The Aults believe that quality wines begin with the grapes in their vineyard. They specialize primarily in Livermore grown and produced wine whose full potential is realized with fine oak cooperage. Their focus is on Estate Cabernet but also produce Estate Chardonnay as well as Port wines from their vineyards and from the Sierra Foot Hills. These hand made wines are available only in limited quantities. Cedar Mountain produces 4000 cases per year.
About The Vineyard:
Blanches Vineyard is situated at the east end of the Valley, (Linda Ault’s nick name is Blanche) and lies on a south facing hill of mixed gravel and clay loam. At a mean elevation of 750 feet and with a prevailing westerly breeze coming from San Francisco Bay, this Region II micro-climate ripens the grapes late in the year. Severe pruning limits the yield of the vineyard to 3 tons per acre giving intense varietal characteristics to Cedar Mountain wines. The vineyard has developed a national reputation for the quality of its fruit. Grapes not used by the Cedar Mountain are used by other wineries in the Valley to produce their distinctive premium wines.
Appellation: Blanches Vineyard, Livermore Valley. Estate Grown, Produced, and Bottled by Cedar Mountain Winery
Harvest Date: October 17, 1998
Fermentation: Fermented in small open tanks, cap punched by hand twice daily.
Pressed: October 31, 1998.
Aging: Aged for nearly two years in new French oak Chateau barrels.
Bottling: 250 six bottle cases bottled on August 11, 2000
Release Date: January 2001