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Review: Clos La Chance 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

I recently had the opportunity to try a bottle of the Clos LaChance 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and, though the tasting situation was far from lab-like and I won’t be “rating” the wine for that reason, I think the experience is worth sharing with you.

Tasting conditions and the way the wine has been treated can have a big impact on one’s tasting experience. So, I want to make you aware of the circumstances in this case. The 750ml bottle was opened briefly and then resealed with it’s own cork shortly thereafter without any wine have been poured. It was then stored at about 68 degrees for 24 hours and an additional 24 hours in a refrigerator at 40 degrees. These aren’t our standard tasting procedures by the way.

We re-opened the wine and allowed it to warm to 59 degrees before pouring. The ambient temperature was 68 degrees. We tasted from Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glasses that were rinsed with filtered water and then dried with white Brawny paper towels (two).  At first sip, the Phillies were ahead of the Rays in Game 5 by a score of 2 - 0.

The wine was an intense ruby in color with a lighter rim and showed pronounced legs. The aroma was clean, but initially somewhat closed. I definitely got blackberry and black currant from the outset though.

On the palate, the wine had medium body and acidity with sweet, medium plus tannins. The bottle puts the alcohol at 14.5% and my tasting would say that’s in the right ballpark  though I suspect it’s closer to 15%. All the elements were fairly well balanced, with nothing inappropriately dominating. The blackberry came through clearly in the taste.

The wine went very well with our medium rare grass-fed sirloin steak (seasoned only with salt and cooked on a cast iron pan in a 500 degree oven for 3 minutes on one side, 1 minute on the other, rested on the pan out of the oven for an additional minute and then on a plate for 3 more. The steak had a nice beefy flavor but wasn’t amazingly tender. We’re not happy with the butcher...)

About the time the Rays had scored a run off of Cole Hamels, the wine was opening up in a very attractive way. The aroma now had plum, cassis, and light touches of vanilla and oak to complement the strengthening blackberry. All of those flavors were also evident in the palate and only gradually dissipated thanks to the wine’s long finish.

The Clos LaChance 2005 Reserve is a very nice example of California Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes all come from the estate vineyard in San Martin (Santa Clara Valley AVA) from vines planted in 1999 and 2000. The winemaker was Stephen Tebb. The suggested retail price is $40. There was a good amount of fine sediment, so you’ll want to decant it or at least pour carefully.

Have you ever tried a wine from the Santa Clara Valley?

This article is original to Copyright 2008 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

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