One of these days someone is going to put together a tasting of all of Paloma’s wines and I hope they can find and include the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Until Saturday night, I’d only had this wine twice. The first time was at a lunch with owners Jim and Barbara Richards when it was released, and it was a stunner. For me it was on a par with their sumptuous 2001 Merlot (95 points, $45), which ended up as our Wine of the Year in 2003.
Not long after taking a bow for their ’01 Merlot, the Richards showed me their ’01 Cabernet from their Spring Mountain estate, which was spectacular. I asked them if they would submit the wine for review.
Jim was hesitant, muttering that they’d only made 70 cases, and well, what would be the point?
The Richardses had already been inundated by hundreds of wine lovers seeking out their Merlot. They typically used the Cabernet as part of the Merlot blend (Cabernet accounted for about 11 percent of the 2001), but they had enough juice to bottle some Cabernet separately. And for years they produced an excellent Syrah from their vineyard.
So they sent the wine in for a formal blind tasting review and I scored it the same as the Merlot, 95 points, and a retail price of $45.
Out of the blue the ’01 Cabernet showed up on Saturday night, poured by a friend who is a collector and fan of Paloma. He had the good fortune to lay his hands on a bottle and it’s still an amazing wine. We drank it happily, not the least bit worried that we were drinking it too soon. It was delicious, darkly hued, intense, youthful and concentrated; it combined power with finesse and still has a long life ahead.