TN: 1985 Ahlgren Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, "Bates Ranch," Santa Cruz Mountains
Ahlgren Vineyard is a small winery high in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Back in 1985 (pre-Loma Prieta Earthquake), the Ahlgrens produced approximately 3,000 cases annually. Now, I'll admit that Bates Ranch is my second favorite Cabernet vineyard in the California (Monte Bello is my first), and this wine was produced from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak; egg white fined, no filtration; 12.3% abv., and bottled Sept. 1987.
Cellared pretty much since release, this 26+ year old wine was a deep garnet hue, clear and bright but with a crust on the inside of the bottle and finely-grained sediment. The bouquet was a mélange of earth, spice, cassis, plum, currant, and vanilla -- all showing much younger than one would imagine from a California Cabernet of this age (but, perhaps, NOT one from the Santa Cruz Mtns.). Round and supple in the mouth, with a silky texture, pleasing fruit and spice on the palate, good acidity, and a long, lingering finish . . .
A perfect match with a grilled hanger steak, paired with red & yellow bell peppers, zucchini, fennel, baby green onions, and shiitake mushrooms -- all cooked on the grill . . .