1974 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow  


I have always had a soft spot for Diamond Creek Vineyards, charmed by Al and Boots Brounstein, who would regularly pour their wines in London in the early days of my career. The couple founded the Napa Valley estate in 1968 and had the nous to separate four vineyards and bottle them separately. (The property was sold in 2020 to the Rouzaud family of Maison Louis Roederer.) It had been a while since I tasted a mature vintage. A splendid Thanksgiving dinner at Bistro de L’Hôtel, organised by a munificent friend, saw several iconic Napa bottles accompany our turkey that I intend to publish as Cellar Favourites this year.

The 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow is the most mature bottle I have drunk from Diamond Creek; not that age had withered it one iota. Just shy of half a century, it sports a divine nose with ebullient black fruit laced with star anis and camphor, vibrant and exquisite in terms of delineation. Dare I say…almost Pomerol-like! The palate is beautifully balanced and poised. A silver bead of acidity keeps everything taut, yet it flourishes on the finish with gorgeous, sensual black fruit tinged with pain d’épice and thyme, persistent and tender. This fabulous mature Napa Cabernet shows how astute the Brounsteins were in adopting a more Burgundy-like, parcellated view of their vineyards. Magnificent. 97/Drink 2023-2037.

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