The 2000 cabernet sauvignons aged for a decade in the chilled cellars around Wine Country.
They hibernated through the surge of Twitter and its nanosecond communiqu?, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and the election of Barack Obama as this country's first African-American president.
Twenty-four bottles were roused from their slumber and uncorked at The Press Democrat's recent 10-year retrospective tasting and there was plenty of suspense.
The 2000 vintage was a challenging one. Mother Nature threw what she could at the harvest as a cold, rainy October held up ripening. What would show up in the glass after 10 years of aging was anybody's guess.
The spotty vintage reeled out about a half a dozen very strong contenders, with the number-one pick being the Burgess Cellars, 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Vintage Selection. (4.5 stars)
"What gave us the edge was our hillside vineyards," said Bill Sorenson, who has been making wine at Burgess Cellars in St. Helena since 1972. "At 800 to 1,000 feet, the vineyards are 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the valley floor and we had all our fruit picked by the end of September before the October rains."
The other top winners, each scoring 4 stars, are:
Second Place: Joseph Phelps Insignia, 2000 Red Table Wine, Napa Valley.
Third Place: Shafer, 2000 Hillside Select, Napa Valley Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fourth Place: Mosaic, 2000 Alexander Valley Meritage.