1974 Sonoma Vineyards Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon.
He said: My parents bought this wine in 1977, and it’s been in my father’s wine locker for almost 34 years. We decided to open up one of the bottles to see if the wine was still good.
This wine holds a very special place in California wine making history. It is the first single vineyard cabernet from Sonoma Valley. According to the back label, the Alexander’s Crown vineyard is a 61-acre vineyard located on a promontory above the Alexander Valley.
The winemaker was Rodney Strong, a major pioneer in the Sonoma winemaking world. Sonoma Vineyards later became Rodney Strong Vineyards. Rodney Strong, now owned by Tom Klein, still produces an Alexander’s Crown single vineyard cab.
You can see the first vintage of Alexander’s Crown charted on this timeline on the Rodney Strong website.
Rodney’s notes on the label and note card are very interesting. For one, he says the grapes were harvested at 24.2 brix on November 3rd, which is very late. Then he apologizes for the wine being high alcohol at 13.7%, which would be considered low nowadays. He also said the wine could age for 20 years if you had the patience. Well, we were super patient, letting it sit for 36 years!
And now for the tasting notes:
He said: I had some doubts at first when I uncorked the wine. It had a little off smell and tasted a bit acidic, but the color was fairly red and I thought it was just a bit tight. After about 10 minutes, the wine started opening up and becoming more approachable. After being open an hour, the wine really showed its stuff. It had great cherry flavors and the balance was terrific. This turned into a tremendous bottle of wine. I gave it an excellent score of 17. The bottle had a lot of sediment.
She said: I don’t know how I know this, but I would say this has structure. You were so worth the wait, you big strong man-wine.
P.S. She says: I went peeking into to Barry’s father’s wine notes to see what Mel might have had to say about Sonoma Vineyard’s Alexander’s Crown. And here’s what I found. Mel tasted and purchased the wine in August of 1977. Mel wrote: Fruity, smooth, lots of TANNIN, BEAUTIFUL
Mel kept an inventory of his wines on 3×5 cards and stored them in a little tin box. He bought two cases of ’74 Alexander’s Crown (back when cases were 12 bottles). Each bottle cost $6.50 Only two bottles were marked off as being opened. Let me see if I can do that math 24 bottles – 3 bottles minus not so perfect inventory keeping = still a whole lotta good wine left! Of course there’s no way each bottle will be perfect, but this one was and that’s a good sign. Enjoy the hand written notes!
You can view additional, higher quality photos of the hang-tag, the bottle and Barry’s father’s wine notes on our Flickr page:
Served with: A hearty homemade stew on a rainy and cold Saturday night.
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