Keeping a Wine Library: An Ongoing Policy
There is no substitute for time.
Properly aged and cellared wines display complexities and flavors that one cannot find in their younger counterparts. At Laurel Glen Vineyard, we offer a selection of perfectly stored Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon vintages chosen from our extensive wine library and spanning at least a decade for guests to taste.
What will you learn from a library wine tasting?
A library wine tasting is an unparalleled experience for any wine enthusiast, helping you to better understand the place where the wine came from. A wine's ability to transform while in the bottle and to display the effects that mother nature can have on particular vintages can be an invaluable education.
With time, a great Cabernet Sauvignon evolves into something more than what was first placed in the bottle.
We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the current release wines and learn something about the vineyard and the winemaking techniques before participating in a vertical wine tasting. We can help you to do just that in the Laurel Glen Tasting Room. This will help you better understand the changes that the wines go through over time and the aging process itself.
An extensive library of wines being poured.
In the Laurel Glen Vineyard tasting room, we have become known for our deep library of wines dating back to the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. These bottles are appreciated by some of America’s most prestigious restaurants, where diners will find dedicated verticals on the wine list. With a long and distinguished history of producing age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon atop Sonoma Mountain in California, Laurel Glen has established itself as a cult producer of distinctive estate Cabernet.
One of the things that makes wine so unique is that it represents bottled history. Wine is a living thing and like all living things, it will evolve with time. In order to ensure that a bottle will improve with age, proper care and cellaring is strongly recommended. Somes wines will take years, and others decades, for the many subtle changes to manifest themselves.
What occurs when wine is aged?
When tasting an older vintage alongside a current release wine, you can easily smell, taste and see the difference in the glass. The color change alone is obvious to even the most novice tasters when pouring a recently created bottle and an aged wine side by side.
Depth of color is due to anthocyanins and various pigments in the wine. Young Cabernet Sauvignon is likely to show dark purple, inky or ruby tints in the glass once poured. You will most likely taste the concentrated and powerful ripe fruits as well. These deeper colors are a reflection of the raw material (the grapes) and the flavor notes overall.
Color alone is not an indicator of the quality of the bottle but it does help to indicate the age of Cabernet Sauvignon. Provided the wine has been cellared properly, the color of a well aged bottle of wine is likely to hue more towards the terra cotta end of the red spectrum vs. the ruby red tones of younger bottles.
How do I purchase aged and collectible wines?
Just stop by the Laurel Glen Tasting Room. Easy as that.
All kidding aside, the BEST way to invest in wines that will age gracefully in the bottle is to taste them first and to reassure yourself that the wine, location and producer has the ability to age well. In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type, from the same vineyard and from the same winery are tasted. This emphasizes differences between various vintages and shows quite easily to the savvy consumer whether or not this is an age worthy bottle.
While purchasing from a library, don’t forget to buy some of the younger wines as well. The younger wines from the same producer and grapes will come at a lower price point and you can rest easy that the wines will age well, as demonstrated from your vertical tasting.
A vertical tasting usually starts with the youngest vintage, or current release, and from there progresses to increasingly older wines. Younger wines will seem immediately to be more tannic and less complex than the older bottles, helping a winery to build up to the finale: the perfectly aged bottles.
What other factors come into play in a vertical wine tasting?
Perhaps it was weather, changes in farming practices, or new barrels that affected the vintage you are currently sipping. At Laurel Glen Vineyard, as we taste through our library, guests are educated on each aspect that goes into the wine from grape to glass each year. There are various factors at play in every vintage that change the heritage of the bottle. These factors can also be interesting points of conversation for a tasting.
Why schedule a library wine tasting?
- See how a wine has evolved over many years.
- Get a more accurate prediction of how well the wine will age and how long it will last in the cellar.
- To determine whether the producer or location is worth pursuing
- To learn how different vintages from the same region or vineyard will manifest themselves when in the glass.
In a library tasting, do certain vintages ‘Stand Out’ in the crowd?
Quite simply, Yes. Some years, when we re-released a particular vintage, it flew out the door. Our fans can see the effects of vintage variation which helps to demonstrate that because our wines are made from a single vineyard, each year has a distinct personality. Some vintages start out as rock stars. Thank you, Mother Nature and Sonoma Mountain. Other vintages take ten years in the bottle before they start to wow you. We also hold onto library wines for our own research purposes. Yes, it may all look like fun, but really its work.
Not many library wine programs feature the depth found atop Sonoma Mountain at Laurel Glen Vineyard and we are excited to offer our guests this opportunity. Of course due to high demand and limited production, these intimate, seated wine tasting experiences are offered by appointment only.
If you are interested in experiencing a taste of Cabernet Sauvignon past, and a window into the history of Sonoma County and California, be sure to ask about our library of wines and make an appointment for your own experience.