André Tchelistcheff produced some of the greatest red wines in the history of California during his long and illustrious career at Beaulieu Vineyards, but so many of these great wines have now seen the sun set on their magnificence and very few (if any) remain still in their prime. Therefore, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the 1975 Georges de Latour bottling of cabernet remained so vigorous- perhaps already looking over the far side of its plateau, but not yet in full descent and still very much an enjoyable glass of mature wine. The wine takes a good fifteen or twenty minutes to flesh out on the palate after opening, as the remaining tannins are a bit bare-boned out of the blocks, but the fruit comes up nicely and this wine gives a lovely hour to ninety minute window of fine drinking, before it again starts to get a bit sinewy on the palate. During its prime period, the wine offers up a really lovely nose of red and black cherries, a bit of plum, Rutherford dust spice tones, sweet cigar wrapper and gentle notes of toasted coconut from its American oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and really quite nicely delineated, with a good core, still a bit of tannin and fine freshness and purity on the long and focused finish. This starts out as a nice 87 wine and then climbs up to 91 when all of the constituent components are open and in place, stays there for an hour or so, and then begins to gently fade a bit and get four-square.
Cleanly made, with ripe, jammy, cassis fruit, it possesses light to medium body, and a compact, spicy, moderately tannic finish. (RP)
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