October 3, 2013 | by Lisa Mattson

In preparation for next week’s e-newsletter for Jordan Estate Rewards members, we dipped into the cellar yesterday and uncorked two bottles from the 1981 vintage: a 750mL regular bottle and a 1.5L magnum. 1981 is a featured library vintage offered exclusively to members through our October e-newsletter.

The Guest Services team and I tasted these two wines side-by-side, allowing us to re-evaluate how the vintage is aging at this point in its life–and to write a new tasting note for next week’s wine offer. I found these wines to be quite different, yet still showing remarkable longevity for their age. I was especially impressed with the magnum. My tasting notes are below. (This vintage will soon be featured in our online shop during the newsletter offer period).

Harvested in the same year that MTV debuted with “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the 1981 in standard bottle is past its prime–will we ever say that about The Buggles breakthrough synthpop hit?–but the magnum has not yet left its youth in the past. From the appearance to the finish, this expression of Jordan Estate Alexander Valley fruit clearly displays characteristics of a slowly and carefully aged wine, but something about this thirty-three-year-old larger format suggests it is still trying to fit into the twenty-something crowd. The garnet core hue holds strong before reluctantly fading to a brick-red rim. A swirl of the glass not only reveals legs that brag of a lower alcohol content—12.8%—but also a nose that teases and entices with a well-integrated combination of  savory, aging qualities. A complex bouquet of dried black cherry, plum, raisins and prune intermingles with savory notes of rhubarb, Purple Cherokee tomato, bay leaf, tobacco and black olive with just a hint of espresso, vanilla and caramel in the background. This wine is pensive and persistent. The tannins are soft and silky, and the acidity is as bright as it ever was. From the attack on the palate to the long finish, this wine is a pleasure to revisit–certainly more so than many pop hits from the 1980s. Decant off of sediment and enjoy now.

What vintages of Jordan do you have in your cellar? Check out our full library of tasting notes for Jordan Cabernet Sauvignons back to the inaugural 1976. My goal this winter is to taste through as many of the older vintages as possible to provide updated tasting notes, as well as new, optimal drinking windows and cellaring recommendations.