A friend cleaning out grandfather’s cellar–mostly just onesie’s from a lifetime of David Berkeley purchases–all with stellar provenance. What could go wrong??? Let me answer that for you: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Obviously, older PS can go a multitude of directions–hardly ever boring. Deer Park Winery on Howell Mt clocking in at a nearly unbelievable 13-one and I guessed a full point higher. Ripe and cherubic, fruit thick but fading. Not much tannin left and an interesting wine–rich and dark and leathery with a bit of acid but definitely at- or slightly past-peak. But then again: wines like this don’t move much and probably will taste nearly the same in another 10 years. Now Bremer Winery down by the school at the Deer Park/Sanitarium (short-cut) intersection.
’89 Clerc Milon with soaked cork–STILL one of the longest, most difficult cork I have ever removed in one piece. Underside of capsule filthy, cork saturated throughout but still hard and firm. The wine was unfortunately corked, but with a few swirls was able to express MOUNTAINS of bell pepper and lovely green vegetal spice. I–being a Type-3 Corkage–was able to look inside and appreciate its strength, but my girlfriend–being a strict Type-4 Corkage–would have nothing of it. Also–number 2 definer of corked wines–the fruit was not dumb. Beautiful black cherry rich and quite opulent flowed from it and transferred onto the palate far into the finish. Tannin bright and acidic-wound, it powered through the taint and Type-1 and 2 Corkagers would only call it “funky”.
Opened the CdP hesitantly and with rolled eyes, as I know these things can severely go washed-out and weird. But this time it was NOT to be. A glowing testament to Grenache, it drank young–while polished–crammed with spice and tapenade and petrol, the fruit chunky and balanced, still-chalky tannins perfectly integrated into a finish so smooth it could be easy *red table wine*. Stellar beyond belief.
1987 DEER PARK WINERY Petite Sirah Parks/Muscatine Vyd Howell Mt. Napa Valley 13.1
1989 CH CLERC MILON Pauillac Bordeaux France 14.0
1998 DOMAINE de la CHARBONNIERE CdP Rhone France 14.5