I have made a lot of notations about alcohol levels in my notes on many of the younger wines I have tasted from California, as I firmly believe that it is a key fundament in determining how well a wine will age over the long-term, and for wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, I frankly just have little interest drinking them young. Here is a beautiful example on how a lower octane Cabernet can age brilliantly, as the powerful style of Diamond Creek’s “mountain Cabernets” found the ’79 Volcanic Hill tipping the scales at a cool and collected twelve percent alcohol! I find it highly unlikely that even the most strident fans of the over the top jam juice style of Cabernet would find this wine “malnourished or green”, as it is a brilliant and utterly complete wine that is now at its apogee of peak drinkability. The stunning nose soars from the glass in a blaze of cassis, a bit of grilled meat, gentle tarry tones, a beautiful base of stony soil and a lovely topnote of cigar smoke. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, tangy and beautifully complex, with a rock solid core of fruit, outstanding focus, length and grip and still just a touch of backend tannin to carry this wine far into the future. An utterly classic and legendary bottle of California Cabernet!
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