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The Continuing Evolution of 2001 Louis Martini Monte Rosso Cabernet

2001 Monte RossoThe 2001 Louis Martini Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is a very special wine to us.  We first encountered it at the Mohegan Sun Winefest, I believe the first year of the event, when the person pouring reached down behind the counter and produced a bottle with the iconic dark red label.  It was at the time the best wine we had ever tried, by leaps and bounds.  The pure, velvety core of fruit was staggering.  At that time we did not buy $50 bottles of wine.  We didn’t even buy $20 bottles of wine, and we still don’t go near that price on average for our normal enjoyment.  Still, this was special, so I got a bottle.  We opened it on our 20th wedding anniversary and reveled in the nectar that this wine was back then.  We opened another on our 25th anniversary, as I had found a few bottles and stocked them away.  It had not changed at all, and again we enjoyed an amazing wine experience.  A few years ago another bottle produced a much different, huge, more backward and tannic wine.  You can read some of our previous tasting notes on this wine over the years here.

This past week saw our 30th anniversary come and go, and there were still two bottles of the 2001 in the cellar.  One was consumed last night, and the endless journey of the wine had taken a bit of a turnaround, and the fruit once again emerged front and center.  It was more complex now, with beautiful components of tobacco and leather.  Cherry flavors mixed with blackberry and carried through a long and satisfying finish.  It is still great.  Different to be sure than any of the other times we have had it, but great.  The bottle did not last long.  It is simply delicious, and best of all shows no sign of stopping any time soon.  We’re looking forward to a bottle on our 35th anniversary and beyond.  This will however require a purchase at some point, not easy as the wine is hard to find.

What a great way to experience the changing faces of a world class wine over a decade.  At some of these times this wine was in our mind basically perfect.  It’s right now drinking exceptionally well, maybe a notch below those perfect times, but still outstanding.  You have to wonder what it was like all those years in between, but that we’ll never know.  Of course for us the special events we celebrate with the wine heighten our enjoyment and impression some, but objectively the wine has been truly exceptional.

If you have the time, the money and the inclination put down a few bottles of something special and age worthy (that’s an important part of this!) and sample it over the long haul.  You’ll be rewarded.  Please keep the age worthy aspect in mind, as not all wines are built to last decades, and you don’t want a bottle of vinegar on your special occasion.  Big California cabs, good vintage Bordeaux, Burgundy, Brunello, Barolo and Rioja are a few options that should stand the test of time.  There are many others.

I’m going to email Mike Martini and see if he has any in library they can release.  We actually had a chance to talk with him last year (at the Mohegan Sun Winefest appropriately) and told him this story, and how his wine had been one of the moments that had changed us from wine drinkers to avid wine enthusiasts.  That was kind of cool.

A votre sante!

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