Med clear garnet, really dumb at first–completely closed-in, finally showing sand on pulled weeds and an earthy 7-UP note. Dark rich fruit visible but early-on you have to look for it pretty hard. It is not oxidized or worn. Absolutely no pruneyness–a tiny little petrol burnt note vibrant enough to stay out of the pruned or oxidation club. A lovely little dirty-baby-diaper swings in with copious air, accompanying and accentuating the first major visibility of fruit: a dark roasted cherry over frosted applesauce. Briar and euc back up the fruit, without any of the plush patina we see from heavily oaked versions of this variety at half this age.
What strikes me most about this bottle is how indifferent to 30 years the label is. Have you had Charles Krug cab lately? I check in from time-to-time and you can see EXACTLY where this wine WAS and where they all are going. The label just hasn’t changed that much! Current releases still drink austere and tight like this is–and was, no doubt. Entirely drinkable and wholly enjoyable–and nothing manipulated OFF-THE-CHARTS in to Cabernet La-La-Land. This is not a cab for the bling-boys with their new-world cult fabrications. What strikes me is that the bling-boys will typically trot out many layers of BDX in their Instagram shots and yet ignore a label perceived as lowly as Charles Krug. Even though… well… I’ll let you figure the rest out. If you can’t see where I’m headed with this, you are probably on the wrong wine-blog.
In the mouth, a dusty fruit rides in on wet ticking and feathers, swells briefly before attempting to disappear into considerably-polished but still-vibrant tannin. Still no oxidation or pruneyness–although you have to remember we are talking about 1985: There really isn’t anything IN the wines to miserably oxidize the fruit or turn it pruney. A beautiful bell pepper accompanies the rather bright fruit–both of which shine FAR into the finish. Probably past it’s prime, but again: Where is the prime on this label? I had a 2010 recently which drank the same way.
1985 CHARLES KRUG Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 13-1