♦ Library Wines ♦

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard wines are made in a way that will allow for many years of graceful bottle aging. This section is a resource for those of you who have older bottles of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard wines in your cellar. Below are brief notes on each wine spanning the entire history of releases from the winery. These assessments are based on trying the wines from the winery library, which have been stored under optimal conditions since the day they were bottled. You may find some variation from these descriptions depending on how a given bottle of wine has been cellared.

Library Wine Tastings!

We offer tasting of wines from our library on the second Saturday of each month. On that day we open two wines that are 15 to 30 years old for you to try. These wines are available for purchase by the glass or the bottle on these second Saturdays! If you’d like to be on an email list specifically for this monthly event please let us know.

Winemaker’s disclaimer: Everyone has a different idea of when a wine is at its “peak”. Some prefer the more direct fruit of youth, while others prefer the subtle complexities that occur only with long-term bottle aging. So these assessments are, by definition, very subjective to the taste of the winemaker and his friends who helped try these wines for this listing. Your mileage/opinions may vary.

These notes were written Winter of 2009.

A lot of these wines are available for sale from Ken Burnap’s personal cellar. Please inquire if you are interested and we can send you a price list.


Estate Pinot Noir | Matteson Pinot Noir | Cabernet Sauvignon | Merlot | Durif | Other wines


1975 Estate Pinot Noir
Still drinking spectacularly but it’s time to enjoy it now. No reason to wait and a lot of reasons to not wait. If you decant it first it will continue to wake up and become more complex for an hour or more.

1975 Reserve Estate Pinot Noir
This one spent extra time in new barrels. Only 50 cases produced. Like the regular 1975, drink now.

Non-Vintage (1976) Estate Pinot Noir
Very rare – fewer than 6 bottles even in the winery library. Contains 1977 Durif. Ken didn’t like this one, but we witnessed two Frenchmen argue over whether or not it was Côte du Nuits or Côtes du Beaune! At its peak. Drink now – it’s spectacular.

1977 Estate Pinot Noir
Still has remarkable structure. If drinking soon, decant and let breathe. Or cellar up to 2015 or so. You can build a nice dinner around this wine. One of our best vintages ever..

1978/79 Pinot Noir
A blend of a ripe year from the Estate vineyard and some young Pinot fruit from another vineyard (Monterey County fruit). Drink now. Very complex, subtle, but won’t improve with age.

1979 Estate Pinot Noir
Robert Parker reviewed this wine at release and said drink in 2005. We agree. Drink now or you could cellar until around 2012. It’s still fairly big and can benefit from some breathing time. Great balance of fruit and structure.

1980 Estate Pinot Noir
A very big, ripe, high-alcohol year. Past its prime in our opinion but some customers like its big and brash body that still shows even with age.

1981 Estate Pinot Noir
One of the most Burgundian vintages. Higher acid, complex cherry fruit, still somewhat youthful structure. Drink now to 2012 or so.

1982 Estate Pinot Noir
A rainy year, yes, but it made a HUGE wine that still needs time. Lots of tannin, but lots of deep fruit too. Needs wake up time in a decanter after opening or hold until 2015 or so.

1983 Estate Pinot Noir
Ready to drink now. Subtle complexity. The fruit has lost some ground but it is still a very nice wine. It comes from the second of two really wet years and has always had more finesse than power.

1984 Estate Pinot Noir
One of the very few Estate wines that we consider over-the-hill. Too hot a year, too much structure for the fruit. Cook with it.

1985 Estate Pinot Noir
A big, tight structured wine with lots of deep Pinot fruit deep inside. Let breathe if drinking soon, or cellar until the 20-teens.

1985 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir
Softer than the regular bottling, more ready to drink now and having great complexity.

1986 Estate Pinot Noir
Drinking really nicely right now. Our guess is that it will still age well, but it is so darn good now there is really no reason to wait. One of our favorites.

1987 Estate Pinot Noir
This wine really started to blossom in 2009. It is very complex, very Burgundian in character and still has a lot of structure. Build a nice dinner around it or you can hold it until 2016 or so.

1988 Estate Pinot Noir
Drinking really nicely now. Lots of complex fruit and spice, too. Might get better with more time but seems pretty darn good now. Drink it up.

1989 Estate Pinot Noir
One of our very favorites. Complex bottle age characteristics but it still has structure and fruit for more aging. Drink now or cellar through 2015 or so.

1990 Estate Pinot Noir
Softer and more developed than some. Nicely balanced so it will probably age more but drinks very nicely now. Drink now or wait and see.

1991 Estate Pinot Noir
Still seems young with very fresh berry fruit and firm acidity. Drink now if willing to let it breathe, but it’s a good candidate to just bury for awhile.

1992 Estate Pinot Noir
Lots of black cherry fruit and a still youthful structure. We enjoy drinking this because the fruit is so nice, but it will probably continue to improve until at least 2016 or so.

1993 Estate Pinot Noir
Complex and more fully developed than some of the older wines from the 90’s. Drinks so well now we’d hesitate to wait too much longer.

1994 Estate Pinot Noir
Kind of an odd year. We didn’t think much of it at first, but at last sampling it had soft fruit and was drinking nicely. We recommend drinking it sooner than later but it could surprise with more cellar time.

1995 Estate Pinot Noir
One of the finest we’ve made. This will age in the graceful manner of fine Burgundy for another decade or more. Drinks really well now too, so it’s hard to stay away from. No problem going until 2015 or more.

1996 Estate Pinot Noir
A softer, more complex year, more earth and forest floor. It has deep fruit but it isn’t dominant. Enjoy it now and you should probably drink it by 2008 to 2010.

1997 Estate Pinot Noir
This wine we thought was like the 1995 but it hasn’t held up nearly as well. It has pretty, soft, complex fruit, but it’s not an ager. Drink it now.

1998 Estate Pinot Noir
A huge wine, a throw-back to some of those 1970’s wines drinking great now. Bury this in the cellar for decade or two.

2000 Estate Pinot Noir
Remarkably forward fruit which is showing great complexity already. It will almost certainly cellar well until 2020 or beyond but it’s kind of a hard argument to make with how well it drinks now.

2001 Estate Pinot Noir
This one is behaving like a tight Burgundy that needs decades to really open up. There is a lot there now, especially with advance decanting. But it is remarkably tight for its age. Very clean, bright cherry Pinot Noir fruit. Cellar until at least 2015 and it probably can go a lot further than that. We actually have a Reserve version of this wine that we will release at the ten year mark in 2011.

2002 Estate Pinot Noir
A bigger and tighter wine than the vintages on either side of it. We probably wouldn’t even try this wine again until 2012 or so, or give it a long wake-up in a decanter.


Estate Pinot Noir | Matteson Pinot Noir | Cabernet Sauvignon | Merlot | Durif | Other wines


Matteson Vineyard is located in the Corralitos area of Santa Cruz County, an area known to produce great Pinot Noir. It changed names to Ciardella Vineyard in 1997 and is now called Terra Serena Vineyard.

1985 Matteson Pinot Noir
The fruit has faded compared to the structure. Drink now.

1987 Matteson Pinot Noir
Very soft and complex. Perhaps a year or two beyond peak, but still very nice. Drink.

1988 Matteson Pinot Noir
Soft and complex with lots of fruit still. Must be at its peak so don’t wait. Drink it now.

1989 Matteson Pinot Noir
Drinking incredibly nicely late in 2009. Drink it and enjoy it. It might go another few years but all the goodies are there now. Our best wine from this vineyard in this time period.

1990 Matteson Pinot Noir
Drinking incredibly nicely late in 2009. Drink it and enjoy it. It might go another few years but all the goodies are there now. Our best wine from this vineyard in this time period.

1991 Matteson Pinot Noir
Drinks nicely now or you could wait 2012 or so.

1992 Matteson Pinot Noir
Deeper fruit and still some structure. Drinks great now with some decanter time, or keep a little longer.

1993 Matteson Pinot Noir
Soft and complex with developed fruit. Drink now.

1994 Matteson Pinot Noir
Quite fruit focused without a lot of structure. Nice now, no reason to cellar more. Drink now.

1995 Matteson Pinot Noir
Similarly great as the Estate in this vintage, but just a little lighter. Drink now with hearty fare or you could probably work on it over 8 to 10 more years.

1996 Matteson Pinot Noir
Lots of black cherry fruit and a fairly soft structure. Drink fairly soon, probably shouldn’t hold on to it.

1997 Ciardella Pinot Noir (same vineyard, new owner so a new name)
Very spicy in a white pepper kind of way. That spice could develop into nice complexity or it may end up out of balance. Probably should drink it but you could experiment.


Estate Pinot Noir | Matteson Pinot Noir | Cabernet Sauvignon | Merlot | Durif | Other wines


1977 Besson Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Drink last year. Still has some nice complexities on opening but falls apart quickly.

1978 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Probably at its peak in 2009 but it will probably be a long plateau rather than a short peak. Lots of depth and complexity. Drink now.

1979 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Probably at its peak now or in a couple more years. A great example of Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet at its best. Build a really nice dinner around this one.

1979 Bates Ranch Cab. Sauv. Library Select
Drinks great now like the regular bottling. It might go five more years but there’s really no good reason to wait. In fact this one seems more mature than the regular bottling, probably because of the extra oxidation from extended barrel time.

1980 Gamble Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley fruit)
We considered this wine over-the-hill when writing these descriptions in 2005 but it seems to have found a second wind. You should definitely drink it up now, but it is still a very complex and interesting wine.

1980 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Probably at its peak. Very big with lots of deep fruit. The balance of structure and fruit is just right but won’t stay that way. Drink now and it should impress.

1981 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the most Claret-like Cabs we’ve made. Still somewhat tight and needs decanter time to wake up. Drink now with a hearty meal or through 2012.

1982 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
A softer wine from a very rainy harvest. Complex and soft, perhaps just past its peak. Drink now or last Tuesday.

1983 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Another rainy year, a soft and complex wine that is drinking nicely now but won’t get any better with time. Drink now.

1984 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
An odd warmer year. The fruit is still there but more jammy than our usual style. Based on the ripeness, we’d recommend just drinking it up.

1985 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine still has incredible tannin and lots of deep fruit. We recommend starting to drink this one in 2010 and it should go for at least five years after that.

1986 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Very big with deep, youthful fruit and lots of structure. Great now with breathing time but it will probably improve to 2015 or beyond.

1987 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Similar to the 1986. Needs a wake-up ride in a decanter if drunk soon, or have it with a hearty meal. Should improve in the cellar until around 2017.

1988 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
An unusually soft year with not much structure. Nice fruit complexity now but it probably won’t get better. Drink now.

1989 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
An incredible wine that spent an extra week in the fermenter because of the earthquake. Deep berry fruit, earth, spice, chocolate. Drinks great now, but it could well hang in there through its 30th birthday.

1990 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
More classic Bordeaux-like wine. Nice deep fruit, balanced structure. Drinks great now. Will probably age well for another decade but it’s a hard argument to make based on the taste today.

1991 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep fruit and chocolate, medium tannins now. Drink with hearty food now or cellar for another decade.

1992 “Bates Cuvée” Cabernet Sauvignon
Fairly deep fruit and medium structure. Drink now with some advance decanting or cellar until around 2012.

1992 “Cinnabar Cuvée” Cabernet Sauvignon
A little more structure than the Bates Cuvée, probably needs more time, though we’re not sure the fruit will keep up with the tannin if you wait too long. We recommend enjoying this one now with decanting or cellar a few more years.

1993 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Surprisingly drinkable now for a more recent vintage. Nice complexities of chocolate and well developed fruit. Might continue to age with nice subtleties but why push your luck. Drink now.

1994 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the finest we’ve ever made. Very similar to the 1979 and we expect it to age every bit as well. You could drink it now with a lot of decanting time, but we recommend waiting until at least 2012 to 2015 to see what it’s like then.

2000 Harvest Moon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Rather soft for a Santa Cruz Mountains Cab. It will probably gain some complexity through 2012 or so but the better choice would probably be to drink it and enjoy it now.

2001 Harvest Moon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Unlike the 2000 vintage, we think this will age great for another decade or so. Though it offers a lot right now too. It has great, deep berry fruit and a lot of complexity.


Estate Pinot Noir | Matteson Pinot Noir | Cabernet Sauvignon | Merlot | Durif | Other wines


1983 Merlot
Pretty much over-the-hill at this point. Cook with it.

1985 Merlot
This wine has some off odors on opening that blow off with air. No point in cellaring further - drink.

1986 Merlot
At its peak now. Drink and enjoy. Very complex with a lot of subtle nuances of fruit, earth and spice.

1987 Merlot
At its peak now, or perhaps just slightly past it. Drink now.

1988 “San Ysidro” Merlot
Soft and complex with a slightly higher fruit intensity than the Ceres Ranch from 1988. Drink now.

1988 “Ceres Ranch” Merlot
Soft and complex, drink now.

1989 Merlot
You could still cellar this a little while longer but no real reason to. It has a lot of nice depth and expresses itself more like a Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink no

1990 Merlot
Probably at its peak now. Complex and has a nice round mouth-feel.

1991 Merlot
This is probably the best Merlot in the series. More Bordeaux Cabernet-like. It could still age a bit, but we see no real reason to wait. Decant and let breathe some before drinking if drinking it soon.

1992 Merlot
This wine has some really strong berry fruit in it right now. It drinks younger than you may think. You could cellar it, but it is so delicious now we’re not sure you should wait.

1993 Merlot
Pretty much ready to drink now. Nice soft complexities and fully developed fruit.

1994 Merlot
Drink now to 2012 or so. It will continue to become more subtle and complex with a few more years of cellaring, but shows well now with some breathing time.

1995 Merlot
A fairly big and Cabernet-like vintage. Cellar until 2010 to 2015. Deep fruit and some definite structure.

1996 Merlot
Pretty much ready to drink now. It has nice chocolatey complexities with berry fruit.


Estate Pinot Noir | Matteson Pinot Noir | Cabernet Sauvignon | Merlot | Durif | Other wines


1977 Durif
At or just past its peak. Still drinks nicely, but I wouldn’t wait.

1978 Durif
Still hanging in there, probably at its peak right now. It still has a lot of berry fruit and some nice spice.

1982 Durif
Drinks nicely now. This was a HUGE wine at release but has softened over time. Drink now to 2008.

1992 Durif
You could cellar this for a few more years or drink now with some decanting time. Good berries and spice, it will probably hang in there until 2010 or so.

1993 Durif
We think this wine is probably as good as it’s going to get. It still has nice fruit and spice and has a lighter structure than some of the older Durifs.

1994 Durif
Very similar to the 1993, with perhaps a little stronger berry fruit. Drink now or within a couple of years.

1997 Durif – Shell Creek, Paso Robles
This was the only Durif from the Shell Creek Vineyard near Paso Robles. A very complex and spicy wine that you can drink now with decanting and hearty fare or cellar until 2015 and see what develops.

2000 Durif – Central Coast
This one came from a vineyard across the street from Shell Creek where the 1997 Durif came from. This younger vineyard shows more straight-ahead berry fruit but also has some nice spice complexities. Probably should drink by 2012 but it might surprise us.

2003 Durif – McDowell Valley, Mendocino
The first of this source for Durif. A huge wine with a lot of spice and tannin, but good amounts of deep fruit to go with it. Needs time or a long wake-up in a decanter.


Estate Pinot Noir | Matteson Pinot Noir | Cabernet Sauvignon | Merlot | Durif | Other wines

1993 Bates Ranch Cabernet Franc
Probably at its peak. Really deep fruit of blueberries with medium tannins. Might be able to age it another five years, but the fruit intensity is so nice that we recommend drinking it.