Illustration courtesy of the UC Davis Library Special Collections

I've come to look for America.

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Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's listening to "Pet Sounds," but lately I've been thinking a lot about California. Please find below a selection of aged wines from the Golden State classics to some newer school selections. All wines are in stock. Happy hunting!  John McIlwain

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Forman 1998 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Looking at Napa Valley vintage charts, I tend to take a contrarian view. Although it seems that every vintage in Napa seems to be proclaimed as the "best vintage" ever, I've obtained great pleasure drinking wines from maligned vintages with cool, damp weather and rainy harvests. A 2011 Corison Napa Valley Kronos Vineyard Cabernet comes to mind; 1998 Mayacamas another one; I would include the Forman 1998 Napa Cabernet in this group. A savory, dense, and brambly Cabernet that develops kaleidosopic intensity afer being decanted for an hour, including black plum skin, stewed cherry, roasted meat, dried herbs, game bird, and iron flavors. An off-vintage Cabernet that drinks remarkably well now, but would reward an additional 10 years of aging. Jonas Mendoza

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Forman 1999 Napa Merlot

Ric Forman started his winemaking in the late 1960s at Sterling Vineyard, but was heavily influenced by a trip to Bordeaux while working at Newton Vineyard. He brought back several practices to Napa that were unheard of at the time: gentle handling of grapes at harvest through fermentation; small stainless steel fermenters for red wines and new Burgundy barrels for whites; deep caves to maintain a cool dark and humid environment in which to age red wine in new French oak barrels. This is a stern, yet elegant Merlot, with red plum and cherry flavors inflected with ferrous, brick and dried red floral undertones. Firmly structured, a Right Bank-leaning Merlot that rewards decanting. Jonas Mendoza

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