Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1999 Kestrel Cabernet Sauvignon

I have a thing about wine shops. I have to go into them, and then, once inside, I have to peruse their the entire collection. I guess it could be called compulsive behavior, but I like to think of it as a passion, or at least a decent way to spend a Saturday afternoon. On such a recent afternoon, I found myself on the Jersey Shore with two of my sisters and my brother. We'd spent a lot of time on the beach and wanted to pick up some wine on the way home to have with dinner.

It was supposed to be a quick stop, just some shop in a strip mall. I ended up in their California and Washington section, checking each bottle individually. It was like a wine thrift store, and there were all sorts of oddities on the shelves: Napa cabernets from as far back as 1989, Duckhorn merlots from the early 2000s, Au Bon Climat pinots from the late 90s. Judging from the dust on the bottles, it seemed likely that many of these wines had been sitting in this store since their release, which had me wondering about the quality of the wine in the bottle. Still, I picked up a few, including a 1999 Kestrel cabernet sauvignon from Washington’s Yakima Valley. It cost $30, and it was definitely worth it. I’m sure I lucked out, because some of the bottles on those shelves were certainly way past their drinking window. This wasn’t one of them.

1999 Kestrel Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley) 

the color on this 11-year-old cabernet is still a solid purple and almost opaque. this must have been a massive wine upon release. time has done its work on the aromas, providing dried currants, topsoil and sweet chewing tobacco. the palate is still vibrant, and the acid is tangy. this wine has dusty tannins and chewy currant fruit. i find a very distinct dark chocolate flavor in this wine, and i love it. sour cherries and earth flavors carry on to the finish.

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