Dense garnet with considerable sed and bricking edges leading to fairly wide clear. Intense stemmy asparagus, brier, wilted-lily and fig-newton nose with a nice sarsaparilla edge. Considerable polish evident in the nose and the sharp tang of alcohol prevalent. The whole bouquet bodes a vintage poo-pooed by the blackberry-jam-extraction folks and passed over by the VINTAGE-OF-THE-DECADE scribes and could possibly be something classic and balanced. Well, this one isn’t. In the mouth, sharp, thin and acidic. The un-fleshy-ness is impossible to ignore. The complex dusky, muddy-water, pencil-eraser nose translates only to shallow fruit and crisp acid. Barely ANYTHING I was promised carries through. Large portions of the fruit I am confident was visible on release has gone South for the winter. No, forever. An original funk (and the pedigree) caused me to decant lightly at first which almost immediately became apparent was a bad idea. It was falling apart so rapidly I transferred it gently back into bottle and even now, broad, glycerol-ey notes punctuated with oak fill the nostrils under the influence of a little air. The whole mouth is just so hollow. Dark, grainy fruit moves rapidly into quite pleasant tannins. Really there is nothing HORRIBLE about this wine, it is balanced start and finish… there’s just no middle. Fruit apparent, but dehydrated and mono-syllabic. No wow. Balanced in its meagerness. And the wow is why I drink wine. Fun to drink, fun to try, fun to see where this winemaker’s interpretation of 1999 was situated in the grand scheme. I’ve had many 99’s and I think the classicists did it better. This wine has peaked, and the embarrassing part is: it was probably a decade ago.
1999 ROBERT CRAIG WINERY Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Affinity Meritage 13.6