||Lots of stuff here for the bloody pulpit:
The Mt.Veeders (the original ones) were always impressive wines in their
youth. I happened to be in Calif when their first two wines were released
('73 Cab & '73 LongVnyd Chardonnay), tried them, and was blown away
by them & made an immediate appointment to visit Mike & Arlene
Bernstein the next week up in TheValley. I followed their wines into the
'80's when they seemed to lose the intensity & interest that they had
early on. Once Mike&Arlene sold the property to Franciscan, I didn't
find much of interest in the Cabs. Some of the Zins that Peter Franus made
up there, afore he left to do his own label, were pretty good, though.
All of these Cabs had matured, mostly, into lovely/mature/elegant old ladies.
Alas, this tasting pretty much wiped out my stocks.
I had had a couple of the early Milano Zins and were quite impressed with
them (this was back when there were some terrific Zins coming from Mendocino
from Fetzer/Edmeades/Milano) so made it a point to stop at Milano on my
only visit to Mendocino in the late '70's or early '80's. It was a cold/rainy
miserable/gloomy November day & I remember running across a slate/cinder
parking into this funky tasting room. Jim Milone happened to be pouring
& we had a very nice visit. I was still mightly impressed w/ his wines.
In their youth, these were huge/extracted/black/massive Cabs; ones that
I were sure would live forever. The wines seem to be doing very very well,
though I don't think I'd want to hold onto them much longer. The SanelVllyVnyd
was planted in the mid-'60's, entirely Cabernet, all on their own roots.
The vnyd has since been replanted by Jim due to phylloxera, with other
Bordeaux varieties now included. The founding partners of Milano were Greg
Graziano (who left in '79) and Jim Milone, hence the combined name of Milano.
The name has now been changed to Milone Family Wnry, but I must admit I've
not had any of Jim's recent wines (so much wine/so little time!). Mendocino
Cab is a tough one for me. It doesn't seem to have the lush/ripe fruit
that is found in areas to the south... more like SantaCruzMtn Cabs than
anything. They seem to have a restrained fruit component to them and an
earthy/dusty character that gives them a sort of rusticity; not too unlike
Languedoc Cab. But I've had some killer ones. When the Pacini PS was released,
it was one of the biggest/hugest PSs I could recall; of the likes of the
FreemarkAbbey & Ridge York Creek PSs from the early '70's. This wine,
unlike many of them, has gone on to develop into one of the best old PSs
I've had; terrific stuff. One more btl left.
Mendocino County: This is one area that I feel doesn't get the respect
it deserves; other than whites & Pinots from the AndersonVlly. I've
had some Cabernets and Zins from Mendocino in the mid/late-'70's that were
absolutely stunning (some of which still are); every bit as good as anything
from further south. Yet I've also felt that Mendocino has been sort of
an under- achiever in the wines they've been producing over these later
yrs. The quality of the fruit is there, I feel, it's just that I don't
see that many great Mendocino red wines (again, not talking the AndersonVlly)
coming from there. Don't think the JedSteele/K-J run as done a whole lot
for Mendocino. It's an area I need to pay more attention to and go back
for a revisit.
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