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2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6

Beaulieu Vineyard makes three different single-clone Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The clones they use for these wines are clones 4, 6 and 337. I had an opportunity to try the 2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6 last night and thought it was excellent.

The wine is a very dark, but not opaque ruby color and offered politely forward aromas of black cherry, black berry, cocoa and dry leaves. While there’s plenty of dark fruit on the nose and the palate is dominated by black fruit, this is not a fruity or jammy wine. It’s very elegant and refined. It has medium plus body, tannins and intensity of flavor, but the wine is supple, smooth and graceful. The tannins are fine and powdery.

We started by tasting the wine on it’s own. We did not decant it and the wine turns out to need no decanting at all. It’s firm but gentle from the outset. We finished the bottle with dinner over a period of about two hours. During that time, the wine didn’t change.

We shared a number of dishes at Solbar restaurant in Calistoga. The wine proved to be versatile and worked with most of the items we ordered. Among the better matches were the smoky sunchoke and sweet onion bisque with salumi and marjoram, chilled confit of foie gras with rhubarb, a slow-roasted shoulder of duroc pork eaten in lettuce cups or black sesame crepes and beef short ribs with creamy polenta. It did not clash with the pan-seared asparagus in soy caramel and pickled shitakes nor overwhelm the yellowfin tuna carpaccio.

This is one of the best young Cabernet Sauvignon wines I’ve had in a while. It has quiet power, delivers the Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon typicity one would look for, including the “dust”, and will be ready to drink whenever you want to drink it. Very Highly Recommended.

2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6 Rutherford Napa Valley
Rating: Very Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2018
Retail Price: $140
Blend: 100% Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon
Aging: 21 months, 100% new French oak
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 13.5%

This wine was provided and shared by friends. They purchased it from the winery yesterday.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2005 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley

Barnett Vineyards is situated at the top of Spring Mountain. If you stumble on the path outside of their wine cave, depending on “how you roll,” you could wind up in either Napa Valley or Sonoma County. It’s a long way down though, they’re at 2000 feet.

The Spring Mountain District produces some special fruit, especially red Bordeaux varieties. Barnett grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc in their estate vineyards. For the 2005 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley, they supplemented their estate fruit with grapes from Spring Mountain Vineyard, Crowley Vineyard and York Creek Vineyard. (Those are all in Spring Mountain District.)

Grapes from the different sources were vinified and aged separately for 12 months before being blended. Barnett Vineyards’ winemaker, David Tate, knows quite a bit about blending Bordeaux-varietal reds. He was assistant winemaker at the Ridge Montebello winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains for five years. He’s changed mountains and, as a result, styles. But he’s still building age-worthy Cabernet blends.

Upon first opening, the nose on the 2005 Barnett Cabernet Sauvignon was tight. I got dark red berry fruit and a bit of caramel. The wine’s opaque ruby core and purple-colored legs suggest serious extraction. Tasting the wine reinforced that impression. It’s rich but not quite full-bodied in the mouth and there are substantial fruit tannins. The wine was also closed on the palate, except for a strong core of even darker fruit.

I let the wine sit in my glass for four hours and then two hours more. It began to unwind. The fruit became a bit more vocal and secondary flavors began to emerge: vanilla, dusty wood, spice. This was obviously a good wine. But, it still hadn’t unfolded. I shoved the cork back in the bottle.

The next night, I took the bottle with me to Market restaurant in St. Helena. (They have free corkage, so I feel less bad about bringing in a bottle that’s already down 20%). And I ordered the prime rib special. Let me tell you, the 2005 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley was made for prime rib. The protein and modest fat in the meat bond with the wine’s tannins. The mouthfeel becomes creamy smooth. The change in the tannic structure also unlocks the flavors, amping up the fruit, earth, cedar and more. But the wine also made the meat even more flavorful.

The 2005 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley is drinkable now if you decant it vigorously and then pair it with a good slab of red meat. If not, you should let it sit in the cellar for at least two more years. Highly Recommended.

2005-Barnett-Cabernet

 

Here are a few photos I took at Barnett Vineyards last Fall.

2005 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2016
Retail Price: $NA (sold out at winery, $54.50 from an online reseller)
Blend: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Oak: 18 months in French oak (60% new, 40% once used)
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.4%

[On a side note, Market has a brief but very nice wine list of their own featuring local wines at extremely reasonable prices. The next time I go back, I'll be sans bottle and will take advantage of their list.]

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

This bottle was provided by the winery (given to several people at a particular tasting for WSET Diploma students), but not intended for review.

2007 Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon HuerHuero Paso Robles

Unlike the Hess Collection Cuvee 19 that I reviewed yesterday, the nose on the 2007 Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon HuerHuero Paso Robles is pure California Cabernet Sauvignon. I gave it a swirl while blind tasting. Black, blue and cherry fruit wafted out of the glass, accompanied by vanilla, caramel and oaky spice. The color is dark ruby, but its legs were colorless. After extended decanting, the nose mellowed to tasty berry pie.

The wine is definitely fruit forward, but has good tannic structure that is integrated, not drying. A bit more acidity would provide better aging potential and make it a more versatile food wine. The flavors include blackberry, raspberry, chocolate and canned cherries and persist into a medium-plus finish.

This is a good wine that delivers more than most people would expect for $22. Fresh out of the bottle, it will definitely class up a backyard cookout. With an hour or two of decanting, the tannins soften enough to make it easily quaffable, yet still structured, without a slab of meat. That said, I’d pair it with grilled New York Strip (Portobello mushrooms, if you avoid meat) and not bother with decanting. Drink now through 2015. Recommended.

07-Vina-Robles-Cab

2007 Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon HuerHuero Paso Robles
Rating: Recommended
Drink: Now through 2015
Retail Price: $22.00
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aging: 18 months, mostly in French oak barrels, some American oak
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.5%

This wine was provided for review by the winery.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the above and below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2006 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Estate Napa Valley

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ S.L.V. is one of the most celebrated vineyards in Napa Valley. S.L.V. grapes put Napa Valley on the map and France on notice in 1976, when Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars took home 1st prize for Cabernet Sauvignon at the now legendary “Judgement of Paris.” It was the 1973 vintage of S.L.V, made from vines planted by the Winiarski’s just three years prior, that bested Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Montrose and all other entrants.

None of those original vines remain in the vineyard today. Time isn’t as kind to Cabernet Sauvignon vines as it is to Zinfandel or Syrah. Yet, Block 4 in the S.L.V. still consists of thick and gnarly vines planted on St. George rootstock in 1972. These old vines lend character and complexity while the other seven blocks, now in their prime, make up the majority of the wine. [Three blocks date from the 1990’s and the final four blocks were planted in 2000/2001.]

I recently tasted the 2006 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Estate Napa Valley blind in a flight of Bordeaux-varietal wines from Northern California. The wine does not have the inky colors or powerhouse fruit that some reviewers demand from Cabernet Sauvignon these days. But neither does it suffer from the under-ripe flavors and green tannins that have plagued some of the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon in recent years.

The wine is a brilliant ruby color of medium plus intensity that leaves colorless legs on the side of the glass. Aromas of vanilla, light smoke, dark berry fruit and black cherry waft toward your nose. Nose in glass, you will also find mocha and toasted almond. The has the body of half-and-half with integrated tannins. The foremost flavors are dark cherry, chocolate and coffee with hints of caramel and a touch of cigarette ash on the finish.

The 2006 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Estate Napa Valley is a good wine and it’s quality earns our recommendation. That said, the price is troubling. I would be happy to drink this wine on it’s own or with a meal, if someone else was buying. $125 is steep and there are better values to be had. Drink from now through 2014.

2006-Stags-Leap-Wine-Cellars

2006 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Estate Napa Valley
Rating: Recommended
Retail Price: $125.00
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aging: 24 months in French oak barrels
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.5%

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

This wine was received as a review sample from Napa Vintners at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.

2007 Blackstone Pinot Noir Sonoma Reserve Sonoma County

The 2007 Blackstone Pinot Noir Sonoma Reserve Sonoma County is bright ruby with a medium intensity (you can read a page of text through the wine in your glass.) The nose is neither reticent nor one that leaps from the glass. Upon initial opening, the aromas are of candied cherry accented by orange peel, woody incense, spice and vanilla. With extended decanting, the candied cherry changes to black cherry.

The wine has a rich body, sufficient acidity to make it food-friendly, and flavors that echo the nose. It’s soft fruit tannins add textural interest and the option to age the wine in bottle for a few years. The finish is moderately long.

Blackstone is known primarily for it’s lower-priced wines. As a result, this is a wine that may surprise you. It’s very attractive and much more complex and well-balanced than one not familiar with their Blackstone Sonoma Reserve line might expect. The grapes for this wine were harvested by hand and then allowed to cold soak for five days before the fermentation which took place in stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged for fourteen months in French oak barrels.

I blind-tasted the same bottle twice, both times within a flight of six Pinot Noir with prices ranging from about $13 to $35. The first tasting session was with a small tasting panel I put together. Everyone was able to quickly identify the lowest priced wine. There was much less separation between the others though and one of the panelists found the 2007 Blackstone Pinot Noir Sonoma Reserve to be her favorite. It’s fruit-forward but not jammy by any means. It’s certainly among the better California Pinot Noir I’ve had at or below $20.

If you like your Pinot Noir with plenty of fruit and rich body, the 2007 Blackstone Pinot Noir Sonoma Reserve may be for you. It will be good with lightly grilled seafood or chicken. Drink from now through 2014. Recommended.

2007-Blackstone-Sonoma-Reserve-Pinot-Noir-Sonoma-County

Rating: Recommended
Retail Price: $19.99
Closure: Cork
Alcohol: 14.3%
Blend: 93% Pinot Noir, 7% Syrah
Origin: 45% Russian River Valley, 42% Sonoma Coast and 13% Sonoma Valley

This wine was received as a review sample from the winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook.
Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.