Private Collection: Old California Wines from Cronin

Duane Cronin started making wine in his garage, and then quit IBM and made wine full time from 1980 – 2000 (he passed away in 2007). Peak production at Cronin Vineyards was just 2000 cases, including Cab, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. I don’t recall ever seeing Cronin until just a few weeks ago when we were presented with this small stash, and we tasted the 1985 “San Mateo County Cabernet Sauvignon (75%) and Merlot (25%), Shaw and Cronin Cuvee”. The wine is a terrific example of the style of the time, when classic Claret was the model, and bombast hadn’t become the ideal. Blind I might have guessed Graves, or Saint Julien. Bramble, current, cedar, stone – the wine is still very much alive, and a great buy if you like old-school CA. My colleagues gave the 1988 Cab a similar review, and it's worth noting that the Cronin Pinot Noirs were well regarded, back in the day. Jamie Wolff

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