Cabernet Sauvignons that hit the 10-year mark in excellent condition are good candidates for aging another decade. That’s the case with Whitehall Lane’s 1999 Napa Valley Reserve. It's still dark-colored, ripe and supple, with spicy plum, blackberry and anise flavors that are pure, rich and elegant, ending with a long persistent finish.
I enjoyed this wine with friends during a recent football weekend over pulled pork and coleslaw salad. It drank well and held on over time. I’ve drunk this wine on several occasions and reviewed it officially twice in blind tastings, first as a new release in 2002 and again last year in a retrospective tasting. I loved the wine on release (94 points), but it didn’t show as much finesse and flavor in the retrospective last year (88 points). This bottle was on, more like it tasted on release—amazingly youthful and complex, ending with delicate berry notes. 94 points again, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the previous blind-tasting reviews for Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 1999 ($65 on release).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated California Cabernets.