When I came across a bottle of 1990 Diamond Creek Lake Cabernet in my cellar, I pulled it out, stood it up and, a few days later, called Diamond Creek owner Boots Brounstein to meet for lunch. We met in St. Helena at A.K.A. on Main Street and shared a few dishes—including crispy portobello fries, salmon rillette and a flat iron steak—along with the wine.
The Lake bottling, made from a three-quarter-acre site at Diamond Creek, is only made in years when the wine from that parcel is distinctive. Otherwise, the wine goes into the bottling of Gravelly Meadow, nearest to it. Since it debuted with the stunning 1978 vintage, some 10 bottlings of Lake have been made.
The 1990 represents the classic Diamond Creek style—sleek, refined, complex and elegant, with fine-grained tannins and complex cedar, cigar box and dried currant and herb flavors. It’s very much Bordeaux-inspired (winery founder Al Brounstein brought cuttings from Bordeaux for his vineyard), anchored by Cabernet, but also Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. One of this California winery’s strengths is that its wines do age well, and this one remains in tip-top shape. Still holding nicely at 92 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review and vertical tasting notes for Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Lake 1990 (90 points on release).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated California Cabernets.