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Posts from the ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ Category

2002 Leonetti Reserve Walla Walla Valley – Bottle Notes

Leonetti Cellar was founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins. Leonetti, along with Quilceda Creek and Woodward Canyon put premium Washington Cabernet Sauvignon on the radar of wine consumers across the United States. Leonetti also produces one of the very best domestic Merlots. Chris Figgins is now in charge of the winemaking.

52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 17% Petite Verdot all from estate vineyards.

Dark crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Gorgeous nose of blue and black fruits, molten licorice and cassis liqueur. Plush and silky. Medium to full bodied. Blueberry, black cherry, currants, pencil and baking spices on the palate. The finish is long and graceful with fine grained tannins. One of the very best Cabernet Sauvignon based wines being made in Washington. Aging beautifully. Drink over the next 5-7 years.

My rating: 95 points.

Leonetti was one of my very first mailing lists. Twenty years later I am still a buyer and the wines are better than ever. The winery has done an exceptional job at holding the line on prices. Although the mailing list is full and the waiting list is long the wine is readily available at retail in late March so look for the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve next Spring.

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2000 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – Bottle Notes

Dunn Vineyards is located east of St. Helena in the town of Angwin on Howell Mountain. The Winery was established in 1979, with the first harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. In 1981, the first release consisted of 660 cases of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Howell Mountain vineyards. In 1982, Dunn released a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dunn is one of the iconic producers of Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. Randy Dunn, to his credit, has held steadfast in how he produces and prices his wines. The wines are exceptionally long-lived and are truly a throwback to a different era in Napa Valley. Favorable press in the last several years from Antonio Galloni of Vinuous has put a well-deserved spotlight back on the winery.

Crimson in color. 13.6% ABV. Powerful nose of red fruits, leather and fresh mint. Big and structured on the palate with fading fruits and substantial tannins. Dried cherries, currants, plums and pencil lead on the palate. The finish is long with coarse tannins. This wine is everything you expect from Randy Dunn in size and structure but just does not match up to the better vintages of the late 90’s and early 00’s. Drink over the next several years.

My rating: 88 points.

Current vintages of Dunn Howell Mountain should cost around $85. The wine is readily available at retail and a great value at the price point.

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2004 Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Switchback Ridge wines are sourced from the Peterson Family Vineyard. The property, located just off the Silverado Trail between St. Helena and Calistoga has been in the Peterson Family since 1914 and was replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah in 1990. Kelly Peterson along with her father John founded Switchback Ridge in 1999. She is responsible for all aspects of the business, including all sales, marketing and hospitality functions. Bob Foley has been the winemaker since the inaugural vintage.

Purple in color. 15.7% ABV. Soaring nose of red fruits, creme de cassis and a newly opened box of Whitman Sampler. Richly textured, plush and chewy. The balance is notable give the high ABV. Currants, raspberries, cassis liqueur and dark chocolate on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with fine grained tannins. This wine has a spot in my cellar but you have to pick the right spot when opening. I’d advise against opening this with your friends who prefer old world style wines. Not for the faint of heart. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Switchback Ridge wines are only available via their allocation list. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon will be released to mailing list members this fall at around $85 per bottle.

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2000 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Chateau Montelena dates back to 1882 when Albert Tubbs bought 254 acres of property just north of Calistoga. Tubbs planted vines and by 1896 Montelena was the 7th largest winery in California. Winemaking came to an end with the onset of Prohibition.

The current iteration of Montelena can be traced to 1968, when Jim Barrett was brought on as a partner in the winery. Wine production began again in 1972, with Mike Grgich employed as winemaker. Four years later, the Chateau Montelena 1973 Alexander Valley Chardonnay won first place among the Chardonnays and White Burgundies entered in the “Judgment of Paris” wine competition. This was later chronicled in the popular wine movie Bottle Shock.

Crimson in color. 13.9% ABV. Old World nose of red fruits, cedar, leather and menthol. Light to medium body with light acidity and fading fruit. Plums, currants and cherries on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Somewhat charming on a warm Summer night in Seattle but nowhere near what you expect from Montelena in a good vintage. Drink soon.

My rating: 87 points.

Chateau Montelena is truly a throwback to a bygone era. These are wines meant to be cellared, providing less pleasure on release than they will after 10 or more years of aging. That being said, poor vintages like 2000 should be consumed on the younger side.

Current vintages are readily available at retail and can also be purchased at the winery. Expect to pay $100-$125 per bottle.

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2014 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Grgich Hills Estate, in Rutherford, in the Napa Valley, was founded in 1977 by Mike Grgich. Grgich earned fame in 1976 when the Chardonnay he produced as winemaker at Chateau Montelena won first prize among white wines at the now famous Paris Wine Tasting. The estate has 366 acres of vineyards in American Canyon, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford and Calistoga and is still best known for its Chardonnays, which consistently earn accolades from wine critics. Grgich also makes Fume Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and dessert wines.

Purple in color. 14.5% ABV. Brooding nose of black fruits, smoke and leather. Young and tightly wound with firm acidity. Black cherries, cassis and currants on the palate. The finish is very long with silky, fine grained tannins. Big, bold Napa Cabernet from an exceptional vintage. Give this one some time in the cellar or a few hours in the decanter. Best after 2023.

My rating: 92 points.

This wine is widely availed for right around $75 per bottle.

Grgich Hills is one of Napa’s iconic wineries and one of the few wineries in Napa that has a white program that rivals their red program. Hard to go wrong here. Consider stopping by when you next visit Napa Valley.

This review was based on sample provided by the winery.

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2005 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

The 2005 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon was the winning bottle in the March Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for an hour and served with steaks.

Leonetti Cellar was founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins. Leonetti, along with Quilceda Creek and Woodward Canyon put premium Washington Cabernet Sauvignon on the radar of wine consumers across the United States. Leonetti also produces one of the very best domestic Merlots. Chris Figgins is now in charge of the winemaking.

83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and 4% Carmenere. Sourced from Mill Creek Upland, Pepper Bride, Loess and Seven Hills Vineyards.

Dark crimson in color. 14.6% ABV. Sexy nose of red fruits, graphite, coffee and toasty oak. Medium body with great structure and an elegance that is second to none. Cherries, currants, cassis and mint on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with the silkiest of tannins. Breathtaking Cabernet Sauvignon from a wonderful vintage. Drink over the next 4-8 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Leonetti has a full mailing list but the wine is readily available at retail in late-March. The winery has done an exceptional job at holding the line on prices and you may be able to buy the recently released 2014 vintage of Leonetti Cabernet Sauvigon for right around $100 at your favorite wine store sometime this Spring.

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2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

The 2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon was the winning bottle in the January installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and 70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Alex’s son, Paul Golitzin is now chief winemaker at the winery.

Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest scores of any wine produced in the United States. The 2002, ’03, ’05 and ’07 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Quilceda Creek also produces several single vineyard Cabernets and a Columbia Valley Red Wine.

This wine was decanted for three hours.

Bright crimson in color. 14.9% ABV. Showstopping nose of blue fruits, graphite, wet stones and violets. Massive, concentrated and powerful. Silky and seamless on the palate. Flavors of blueberries, cassis liqueur, molten licorice and tobacco. The finish is endless. Just a stunning Cabernet Sauvignon that is entering what should be a very long drinking window. Not perfect but pretty damn amazing. Happy to have another 5 bottles in the cellar. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating: 97 points.

Quilceda Creek is best obtained via the mailing list and you may be able to find some at retail in late March or early April.

I’ve blogged about Quilceda Creek previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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1992 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – Bottle Notes

Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and 70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Alex’s son, Paul Golitzin is now chief winemaker at the winery.

Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest scores of any wine produced in the United States. The 2002, ’03, ’05 and ’07 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Quilceda Creek also produces several single vineyard Cabernets and a Columbia Valley Red Wine.

This wine was briefly decanted.

Crimson in color. 13.3% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, graphite, tobacco leaf and menthol. Silky and elegant on the palate with completely resolved tannins. Flavors of plums, currants, balsamic and cassis. The finish is long and plush. The last Reserve wine from Quilceda Creek and a glimpse into Washington wine history. Clearly ready to drink at 25 years of age. What a treat as we wind down 2016.

My rating: 92 points.

Quilceda Creek is best obtained via the mailing list and you may be able to find some at retail in late March or early April.

I’ve blogged about Quilceda Creek previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2005 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Pride Mountain Vineyards was founded in 1991 by Jim and Carolyn Pride on a site once known as Summit Winery. Jim Pride died in 2004, but the Pride children, Steve Pride and Suzanne Pride Bryan, now own and run the winery. Sally Johnson is the Winemaker. The property consists of 235 acres, 183 of which are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Viognier and Chardonnay.

Purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Funky nose of over-ripe fruits, smoke and anise. Big, ripe and powerful on the palate. Flavors of cassis liqueur, currants, milk chocolate and licorice. The finish is long with silky tannins. Delicious wine if you can get past the nose. I could not, although admittedly it seemed to blow off a little after the bottle had been open for several hours. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 87 points.

Current vintages of Pride can be found at retail and via the mailing list. The Cabernet Sauvignon should run around $70. Pride is also a great stop on your next visit to Napa Valley.

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2013 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Lyndenhurst is primarily sourced from the Spottswoode Estate Vineyard although a few other vineyards figure in the mix as well in 2013.

Purple in color. 13.9% ABV. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Sublime nose of black fruits, violets and licorice. Complex, fresh and silky. Medium body with impeccable balance. Black cherries, currants and a touch of cassis on the palate. The finish is fantastic with grainy tannins. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating: 94 points.

The 2013 vintage was released recently and is readily available. At $80 it is fairly priced given the pedigree.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

Lastly, it was somewhat humbling to find out that Beth Novak, the President and CEO of Spottswoode, wanted to send me a sample to review. Thank you Beth!

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