1998 La Vita Red Table Wine

Welcome back. This week’s wines are bottles that we had on hand. As such they will be more expensive than the wines that I had originally intended on reviewing.

  • Wine: La Vita
  • Price: ~$50? It was 11 years + too many bottles ago, who remembers these things…
  • Vintage: 1998
  • Varietal: “Proprietary Italian Blend” – Nebiollo + others most likely
  • Winery: Regan Estate Vineyards / Bargetto Family Estate
  • Origin: USA, California
  • Alcohol: 13.9%
  • Rating; unknown

We purchased the 1998 La Vita when touring the Regan Estate Vineyards back in 2000. It has been moving with us from house to house over the last decade and spent the last 5 or so years resting in a wine fridge. We noticed it last weekend when it was attempting to hide behind some whites. It was promptly uncorked and consumed. Ever notice that the good wines try to hide in various parts of your house, wine rack, and places you put special bottles of wine for special occasions and then promptly forget?

So we were originally suspect of a wine this old that hadn’t spent the last 12 years in the best of conditions, and fully expected it to be corked. Thankfully our fears were unwarranted. When I poured the wine into the glass I was happy to see a nice deep burgundy color and a complete lack of any signs of spoilage. The wine itself had no overpowering smells, had a delightful earthy smell to it and the slightest smell of oak. It tasted equally pleasant, woody with peppery overtones. There wasn’t much tannin to it, which I tend to prefer but you can’t win them all I suppose.

As to the pairing, we had grilled flat iron steaks with a strong soy/honey mustard marinade and grilled peppers for dinner with that wine. The wine had a sufficiently strong flavor to easily cut through the honey mustard tastes while not being at all overpowering. If I could get my hands on a few more bottles of the 1998 wine I would readily try to do so. I can’t vouch for what the current vintage tastes like but I liked the bottle I tried and would rate that particular year an easy B.


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