Although Ortman Winery had a tasting room in Paso Robles, its roots were in Napa.  When the news that the storied winery would be closing its doors was released, many were shocked and saddened.  As was I.  So what could I do but to raise a glass in their honor.

So I did.  Even if it took a while before I actually did it.

After I moved, I decided to go through my list of wines on Cellartracker, and I realized that I had a bottle of Ortman Family Vineyards 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

I had bought it a couple of years ago when I was in Paso Robles with the Wineaux Guy.  We had purchased quite a bit, and this was one of the bottles that was the last of the Ortman wines.

So just how good could an 11-year-old Napa Cab be?

Please. You’re kidding, right?

Eleven years after vintage, the wine did not disappoint. Of course it had been carefully preserved in one of my wine coolers, so its provenance couldn’t be doubted.  I do good work. The first thing I noticed was that it had a LOT of sediment – carefully straining it into a decanter took care of most of that. The color had almost no signs of age; it was still a vibrant purple.  The age ring was negligible.

On the nose, there was berry, coffee, cassis, earth, wood, and, surprisingly, a little smoke, probably from the age of the wine.

The texture was lovely, with a little more muscle than a Pinot, but velvety for a Cab.  The berries, coffee, and earth were the most apparent in this bottle, with the wood and cassis bringing up the rear.  Even with all of the sediment, the taste was still vibrant and youthful.  I still have one bottle (yay!) and I will open it up later this year or sometime next year.

In a word, Luscious.

Farewell to my friends at Ortman. As one of my never-to-be-missed visits to Paso, I will definitely feel the loss.


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