HE SAYS: Recently we had the pleasure of drinking a 1990 Mt. Veeder Reserve. The Bordeaux style blend was made up of cabernet
sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. The winemaker was Peter Franus, who now owns his own winery, appropriately named, Peter Franus. This is a wine that I had been holding for a long time, waiting for a really special occasion. I remember I had promised to drink the wine with my friend Andy, but I couldn’t remember exactly why. Anyway, a few birthdays came and went, so I finally just said, “If not now, when?” and decided to uncork it with SHE (the wife) and my great friends Andy, Nanci and Ken, all of whom I knew would really appreciate it.
At dinner, Andy reminded me that we had tasted this wine long ago on a trip in Napa. I had forgotten about the circumstances, but went back and looked at my notes and it came rushing back. Ah, yeah! I will digress for a moment for ‘the story.’
We were in the tasting room at Franciscan in July ’95 and the power went out. It was plenty light inside the tasting room, but the staff were dumbfounded for about 15 minutes because the cash registers wouldn’t work. “Why don’t you collect the cash now and ring up the sales later?” we asked. Finally, after a lot of persuading on our part, they decided to pour wines again, for free. After tasting some Franciscan and Estancia wines, Andy tells the server he’s really intrigued by the Mt. Veeder Reserve which had been named the number 1 wine by either Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast (must be in 1994). And you know, since the power’s been off and we’ve been inconvenienced at having to wait a little while, and even though the wine is not available for tasting, how about it? Persuasion, guilt, whatever, it worked and the guy uncorked a bottle of it for us to try. Well, it was truly magnificent. I rated it an 18, which is as high as I ever have scored a new wine. I also remember we ended up being about an hour late meeting other friends at Hess Collection (fittingly in Mt. Veeder), but we had big grins on our faces when we caught up with them. Anyway, once back in L.A. Andy and I each bought one bottle for $30. The wine was hard to find and that was a premium price for a California wine in 1995.
So, move forward 15 years and the promise was certainly there, but the big question remained, how would the wine hold up? Would it still have that exquisite balance, great fruit and wonderful complexity? The answer is, most definitely. This 1990 Mt. Veeder Reserve was extraordinary. Very elegant, wonderfully smooth, supple fruit with soft cherry flavors and a luxurious mouth-feel. We enjoyed a 2002 Ravenswood Dickerson Zinfandel prior to that which was really terrific (17+), but this Mt. Veeder was superlative.
“This Mount Veeder was superlative. Truly one of the best wines I ever tasted. I scored it a 19!”
SHE SAYS: Lay me down, roll me over and do me again. This wine rocks.
HE and SHE both say: Here’s the website for the Mount Veeder Winery. Beautiful territory. http://www.mtveeder.com/
And if you’d like to keep tabs on that awesome wine maker Peter Franus, you can find Peter at his own winery now – right here: http://www.peterfranus.com/ Thank you, Peter!