Let’s stay together

[fontenil & ahlgren]Ahlgren 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Bates’ Ranch (Santa Cruz Mountains) — For the first twelve hours, this is soupy and off-putting. Left open (but not decanted) at room temperature, I take a little sip the next morning (pre-coffee) and it’s extraordinarily good. Big, yes, and there’s a looming scowl of booze that’s barely restrained by the softened fruit, but everything else is showy and delicious. Raisins, plums, slightly overripe berries, fully resolved structure. Explosive. And since the side-by-side was intriguing: right now, this is a better wine than the Thunder Mountain from the same vintage and site. I don’t think either is going to improve, but neither is in danger of cliff-diving either. (9/17)

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