This is a classic California wine, practically dating to the state’s wine pre-history. In 1990, when the first vintage was bottled, Robert Parker had barely scratched the surface of California wine.
This is a critical part of the success of Cing Cepages, a red blend that is mostly cabernet sauvignon. It has an identity that few other high-end, highly-valued, and highly-scored wines have, which give it a basis for comparison. Each vintage doesn’t exist in a vacuum, ready to be discarded when the next winemaking trend comes along.
This does not mean that the wine doesn’t change, because it should. The weather and soil aren’t constant, and different winemakers bring different approaches. But the change comes within the house style, something that doesn’t happen often enough in this country.
The 2005 ($75, sample, 14.4%) is just getting ready to enjoy, is still available, and at a discount. I had it with prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, and the pairing couldn’t have been better. Look for rich black fruit that is well forward, but complemented by layers and layers of flavor (graphite even). This is an iconic wine, and it's easy to see why after you’ve tasted it.