Betty's Wine Musings

Was OTBN 2023 Past Its Prime?

I hope you had a great OTBN 2023. We (seven of us) had a really fun one, but the words “past its prime” were used more than any other words. Read all about our tasting here.


OTBN 2023
OTBN 2023

The Wines We Tried

We started with a wonderful French Champagne. That wasn’t part of OTBN. It’s just the way I like to start all tastings. After that, we got into the serious, OLD wines.


Normally you go from oldest to youngest. But we made a few changes to the order because of having a white wine and a few dessert wines.


The oldest was a 1982 Zaca Mesa red wine that wasn’t stored well. This was the only wine that only the person who brought it tried. We all smelled it and agreed that it smelled very musty. The wine provider said that it tasted awful and that we didn’t need to try it. YAY!


After that, we had a 2001 Renwood Orange Muscat, which was drinkable but well past its prime. The only thing we got from this wine was nuttiness.


Then, we had a 2000 Savannah Chanelle late harvest Zinfandel from Paso Robles. This wine felt like a tawny port, but there was nothing going on. Can you say past its prime? Yes, you can!


We had a terrific 2014 New Zealand Rippon Osteiner. Osteiner is a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner, the latter of which is grown primarily in Alsace and Germany, where its official name is Grüner Silvaner. After the non-descript wines we’d had so far, this one was incredibly refreshing. It had nice acidity, with an uplifting brightness.

More Past-Its-Prime Wines

So, the evening continued with these additoinal selections that were past their prime:


  • 2004 PineRidge Epitome Cabernet – In Googling this wine, I saw that many people raved about it some 10 years ago, when it was selling for over $200. But not anymore.
  • 2005 Moshin Syrah – This wine was smoky on the nose with some pepper notes. While it was still very drinkable, there wasn’t a lot there.
  • 2007 Cooper Garrod Test Pilot – This combination of 50% Cabernet and 50% Syrah was flat and didn’t feel balanced. My friend Jeff said he got a lot of dusty tannins in the aftertaste. I thought that was a pretty good description.
  • 2008 Charles Krug Napa Valley Cabernet – This was probably the most popular wine of the evening. But I found it pretty prune-y, with just a hint of cherry.
  • 2016 Fortino Carignan – This would be a great pizza wine. Good acid and pepper, with notes of cranberry and cinnamon.
  • 2018 Rodrigue Molyneaux Petite Verdot from Livermore – People liked this one.
  • 2008 Tokaji from Hungary – This noble-rot wine had a good mouthfeel with notes of honey, apricot and vanilla. While it’s a good dessert wine, this one was a wee bit past its prime.
  • 2018 Duoro from Portugal – This wine is 60% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca and 20% Tempranillo. We all thought this puppy was way too young. In three or four years, it might be good.
  • 2004 Rosenblum Zinfandel Port from Mount Diablo – This wine was great. Very well balance with a lot of raisin notes.
  • 2005 Cedar Mountain Late Bootle Vintage Touriga Nacional – This wine had a rich flavor with coconut notes. But it was very strong, with an alcohol content of 23.2%!


We ended the evening with one of my favorite bottles of dessert wine: V. Sattui Madeira. After so many wines that were past their prime, this was the perfect way to end the evening. A dessert wine that enveloped us with warmth. Heaven on earth.


I would love to hear about your OTBN experiences.









As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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