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First Encounters With New and Youthful Wines : Tiny Napa Valley Vineyard Leads Parade With Sauvignon Blanc at Benefit

April 02, 1987|NATHAN CHROMAN | Chroman is a free-lance wine writer and author who also practices law in Beverly Hills

William Hill Cabernet, Gold Label 1983 offered an abundance of ripe, rich cherry flavor which refused to quit. Some obvious tannin will help it age during the next five to 10 years. Frankly, I enjoy it now.

Two older Cabernets, Freemark Abbey 1980 and Spring Mountain 1980 are fine for today's consumption.

Freemark is a big-structured, nicely developing wine of high intensity and a blend of cherry and chocolate flavors that indeed will age for another decade. Spring Mountain may not be as big but offers a measure of lean elegance with in-depth flavors. Not the best of Spring Mountain's Cabernets, nor its most expensive, it is well made and definitely a good value at $14.

Two red Zinfandels were offered by Lytton Springs, Sonoma County, 1984, which was pleasant with some spice and wood accompanied by eucalyptus flavors but nowhere near the class of its Estate Bottled, 1983, in a less obvious style, subtle, lean and overflowing with attractive spiced flavors. Truly a Zinfandel beauty.

Bonny Doon's Muscat Canelli 1985 provided a lovely tasting finish of sweet, luscious Muscat flavors. It easily is one of the state's best. Made entirely from botrytised grapes, it is a handsome choice as an aperitif or for a meal's end. It is available in half bottles for $10.

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