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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A Veteran Cabernet Takes the Field

Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 1993

James Laube
Posted: January 20, 2011

For a football-watching dinner party this past weekend, I cooked a Tuscan white bean soup with lamb and wanted to try an aged Cabernet Sauvignon from my cellar. I picked the 1993 Paradigm Oakville—always a graceful, elegant wine, from a good but not great year in Napa Valley.

The wine had fascinating aromas of wilted rose and jasmine, plum and touches of cedar, hazelnut and Brazil nut. Mature, its primary dark berry flavors had evolved and, with aeration, a minty flavor folded in. Although I decanted the Cabernet to remove a touch of sediment, the tannins were firm, giving it structure. 88 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 1993 (89, $28 on release).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Cabernets from Napa's Oakville appellation, along with our quick list of Top Values among California Cabernets, for $35 or less.

George Quinn
San Jose, Ca —  January 20, 2011 1:31pm ET
The dish sounds terrific and the wine great.
My question is...how soon before drinking do you open an old wine or even a young one? thanks George
James Laube
Napa, CA —  January 20, 2011 2:43pm ET
George, for the Paradigm, I stood it up for a couple of days for the sediment to settle and decanted it; threw quite a bit of sediment (and the cork split three times). Start drinking immediately and see how it goes. Some wines improve with air. Others start to lose flavor and focus. For younger wines, I usually decant if I can, for an hour or so, at least to get the temperature above cellar temp.
Louis Robichaux
Highland Village, Texas —  January 20, 2011 5:11pm ET
Impressive that an 18 year old Napa Cabernet from a "good but not great" year held up well.
Don Rauba
Schaumburg, IL —  January 23, 2011 9:33pm ET
A lot of really interesting secondary aromas and flavors, which sound delicious. What was it that kept it out of the 90+ range?
Jim Eby
olympia, wa —  January 26, 2011 11:15pm ET
James - was looking at the 2007 zaca mesa syrah santa ynez. the 2006 was great. have you sampled the 2007 yet?

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