The 1980 Bella Oaks cabernet is a very good bottle, but even at age thirty-three, it has retained just a touch of a dry edge from its new wood component. The bouquet is deep and complex, offering up scents of red and black cherries, cigar wrapper, allspice, incipient notes of chipotle pepper, soil tones and still a fair bit of spicy oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still a bit tannic, with a fine core of fruit, lovely focus and very good length and grip on the fine finish. The new oak here has given this wine a certain sense of rigidity on the palate that may never go completely away, and it is the only detracting element in what is otherwise a really lovely and still quite youthful example of the fine 1980 vintage.
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