Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Amphetamine Annie is the girl who brought Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon to my attention in the first place. That was sometime back in the 1980’s when California was blessed with a plethora of near perfect grape harvests.
A bottle fetched somewhere around $15.00 US in a decent eatery. About half that at the Whiskey Store. It was well priced and pretty well made. We watched the price climb until it wasn’t worth drinking anymore. Before that happened I stocked up a half dozen bottles or so. This was the last one. End of an era. Surprised me when I unearthed it last week.
A modern Chimney Rock Cabernet goes for $25.00 to $40.00 a bottle. A tad overpriced, IMO. A 1990 Chimney Rock goes for a buck thirty today. The Boy thinks I'm nuts for drinking it instead of selling it. He's prolly right, cuz it wasn't anything to write home to Ma about.
You might argue that it was past its prime or wasn't stored properly. Perhaps, but while the wine was good in 1993, it wasn't stellar, and it is very difficult to put your finger on exactly why age wasn't more kind. It wasn't the cork, though.
Generally, but not always, storing the bottle on its side with the neck of the bottle lower than the bottom will keep the cork wet and reduce the incidence of spoilage. This cork is well preserved, was easy to remove, and showed no sign of crumbling.
The wine is medium bodied and dull brick in the glass. It is still a little tannic, though smooth, almost flat, with a hint of fennel, cedar, and licorice. That's it. Definitely not a hundred and thirty dollar wine. Worth drinking? Certainly. But only because TWC bought it for $6.99 way back when.
Sidebar: Justin Baldwin, of Justin winery, way out there on Chimney Rock Road in Paso Robles, was a tad disappointed that the Chimney Rock moniker was already taken when he set up shop. He didn't miss getting it by much, but you know how that goes. A miss may as well be a mile as Aunt Jeanne used to say, which really doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but you get her drift.
Got me some indelible Kodachrome moments of The House Blonde and The Boy snaffling up Chardonnay and Merlot grapes, which hung loosely in thick, ripe clusters from the arbors at Justin. I'd boost them up above my head and they'd grab as many grapes as they could stuff into their tiny mouths. There is a mistaken assumption that wine grapes aren't good to eat. Many are quite tasty. Didn't care for Mission Grapes, though we might have been pilfering them a bit too early in the season.