To date, this is the oldest wine that I think I have ever had. Lots of questions fly around when picking and drinking an older wine. Is it still good? What will it taste like? Does old even matter? What the hell was I doing in 1998 when this wine was made? The last one, which is the least wine related, is one of my favorites. I opened this wine with my wife and brother who enjoyed doing the same. My brother graduated high school in 1998. I was 11 when these grapes were hanging on the vine. It is fun things like this that can really make the old wine experience fun.
Now, the first couple of questions. You take a high risk when aging wine. Most people age their more expensive wines and those might be $30, $50, or $100’s and if you store it improperly or hold it to long that is just money down the drain. Now the nice part about the 1998 Ritchie Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is that I didn’t have to age it (imagine 11 year old me trying to buy this in a wine shop) but instead this was aged at the winery itself. And since I have not had a lot of old wines, I figured I need to get the taste thing going so you know what is good.
Ritchie Creek only makes about 800 cases of wine in Napa and has a very basic website that really brings to light how small craft this wine is. This wine was sourced from Invino.com and was only $25. Yes, that is right a 1998 wine for only $25! Here are the tasting notes:
Our Cabernet Sauvignon is made from our estate Cabernet and Merlot grapes. The vineyard is on our four acres of rocky volcanic soil producing fruit in small bunches with small berries. The unique vineyard site expresses itself boldly in this concentrated and elegant wine. Decades of experience with this vineyard have proven the wine’s great aging potential.
Alright, so there are no descriptions of any taste in those notes. So I guess you will have to take my word for it?
Color – Deep dark red and it did have slightly transparent brick orange coloring on the edges.
Nose – Old worn leather with lots of spices and herbs. You can definitely tell a lot of the fruit has faded away.
Taste – I got a little bit of minerals, dark currant but it was light. The wine was mostly earthy.
Finish – Full-bodied with medium acid and very very smooth tannins.
Overall, I have not had a whole lot of aged wines so take my review with a grain of salt I guess. I really enjoyed this wine. We enjoyed looking up things from 1998 that we had forgotten about and really appreciated a wine that the fruit had faded into the background to let the earth and spice come forward. I would recommend this to anyone because it is such a good price and you get to taste history.