1999 Facelli Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve
It’s always a little strange, and hopefully not too rude, for me to take notes in the middle of a dinner party with friends. Those who know me aren’t surprised, but I try to do it discreetly nonetheless. With the 1999 Facelli Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Bacchus Vineyard, Columbia Valley, I really needed to write down everything I was experiencing. Yes, it was that good for me.
I typically have been opening Washington Cabs within 8 to 10 years because they didn’t seem to have enough backbone to withstand long cellaring times. So many that I’ve opened at the 8 or 9 year mark have been past their prime so now I’ve become wary of letting these Cabs age too long. I opened a ’98 Facelli Cabernet Franc last year and I was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t anything like I remembered and it made me a little apprehensive about opening this 10 year old $19 bottle for friends. I’m glad it proved to be a good choice.
I opened the bottle and decanted this wine for 3 hours before our dinner and I think that really helped. Note the sediment in the empty bottle and the winemaker’s signature on the label in the photo. The color was a brick red with an amber rim suggesting the age of this wine. It had opulent aromas of leather, white pepper and black olives. I might have spent just a little too much time enjoying and noting the fragrances because everyone else was already enjoying the taste. And what a taste. Very masculine, mouth filling flavors of blackberry jam with huge amounts of tobacco, anise and a touch of earthiness that is reminiscent of a great left bank Bordeaux. The long smooth finsh still showed firm tannins that belies its age.
It paired marvelously with grilled New York strip steak, carmelized onions, garlic sautéed mushrooms, red wine reduction and other side dishes and really brought out the best in each. Over the course of the evening, the wine maintained much of its character which is impressive. I’m glad I have one more bottle of this wine for another occasion.