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Posts from the ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ Category

2007 Force Majeure (Grand Reve) CS Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon – Bottle Notes

Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and made its name pairing some of Washington’s highly acclaimed winemakers with fruit from one of Washington’s highly acclaimed vineyards, Ciel du Cheval.  The winery recently transitioned from Collaboration wines to Estate wines. Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, is the winemaker for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There is also a second label that was introduced last year named Parabellum. Even more changes are in the works including a new label and a Force Majeure Tempranillo.

The 2007 CS Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was made by Ben Smith of Cadence Winery. I decanted the wine for an hour.

Purple in color. 14.7% ABV. Riveting nose of black fruits, pencil lead and molten licorice. Immense and concentrated. Full bodied with super silky tannins. Black currants, cassis liqueur, blueberries and coffee on the palate. Nice length on the finish. In a really good spot right now. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Force Majeure is one of the most exciting wineries in the state. The winery is still accepting names for the mailing list.

I’m going to miss the CS wines and in particular the Merlot dominant CS IV but am excited about the direction Paul McBride has in mind for Force Majeure.

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2005 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.

Crimson in color. 15.7% ABV. Gorgeous nose of red fruits, licorice, scorched earth and plums. Plush, silky and impeccably balanced. Powerful, concentrated and youthful in appearance. Cassis liqueur, black currants, chocolate and raspberries on the palate. The finish is long and decadent. Fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon and everything you hope for when you open a Bob Foley wine. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 95 points.

Switchback Ridge wines are only available via their allocation list. The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon will be released to mailing list members this fall at around $85 per bottle. Fantastic value here in my opinion.

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1999 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 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.

I decanted this bottle for about 90 minutes.

Violet in color with some bricking at the edge of the glass. 13.3% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, leather, cigar box and graphite. Supremely structured and powerful with a shroud of tannins on the palate. Flavors of cherries, currants and a healthy dose of cassis. Extraordinary finish with polished tannins. Classic old school Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that is in a great place as it approaches 20 years of age. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 93 points.

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

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2001 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Gavin Newsom and Gordon Getty established PlumpJack Winery in 1995, inspired by one of Shakespeare’s most memorable characters, Sir John “PlumpJack” Falstaff. PlumpJack Winery sits squarely in the heart of Napa Valley’s renowned Oakville region, surrounded by a 42-acre estate vineyard highly regarded for the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon. Aaron Miller is the winemaker at PlumpJack.

PlumpJack holds a special place in my heart: My wife and I were married at their Squaw Valley Inn and served PlumpJack Merlot and Chardonnay at our wedding.

Purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, cedar and eucalyptus. Rich, plush and concentrated in such a way that belies the 17 years of bottle age. Black cherries, currants, cassis liqueur and mint on the palate. The finish is extremely long with fine grained tannins. Stunning Cabernet Sauvignon from a glorious vintage that is aging beautifully. Best over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 94 points.

The 2014 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon was recently released and can be obtained at retail and the winery for right around $125. The winery is also a great place to visit on your next trip to Napa Valley.

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1991 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Bottle Notes

Silver Oak Winery was founded in 1972 by Raymond Twomey Duncan, a Colorado entrepreneur who began investing in California vineyards in the late 1960s, and Justin Meyer, a winemaker and former Christian Brother. They produced 1,100 cases of their inaugural vintage. Over the next two decades, Silver Oak grew in popularity. The Napa Valley and Alexander Valley Cabernets sold quickly upon their release from the winery and became a sought-after staple on restaurant wine lists around the country. After selecting Daniel Baron to succeed him as winemaker in 1994, Justin retired, selling his share of Silver Oak to the Duncan family in 2001.

Violet in color. 13.5% ABV. Pristine nose of red fruits, licorice and graphite. Incredibly elegant. Holding up well with ample fruits and mostly resolved tannins. Currants, black cherry and anise on the palate. Medium length on the finish with chalky tannins. This was out of magnum so I would say that the wine in this format has aged beautifully. I suspect regular bottles might be on the decline. Regardless, just a great example of what a master the late Justin Meyer was in the wine cellar. Drink soon.

My rating: 91 points.

For me Silver Oak has never been quite the same since Justin Meyer retired. This was one of my favorite wines when I first started this hobby long ago. That being said there is no doubt Silver Oak is still immensely popular. The wines are fairly priced at about $75 for the Alexander Valley Cabernet and $85 for the Napa Valley Cabernet.

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2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

The 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon was the winning bottle in the December Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for one hour and served with steaks on New Years Eve.

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, ’07 and ’14 vintages of the flagship Cabernet Sauvignon all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Additionally, the ’14 Galitzine recently received 100 points as well. Quilceda Creek also produces several single vineyard Cabernets and a Columbia Valley Red Wine.

Purple in color. 14.9% ABV. Stunningly pure nose of red and blue fruits, molten licorice, violets and crushed rocks. Plush, polished and incredibly silky. Tremendous structure and concentration. Blueberries, currants and cassis liqueur on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with no shortage of tannins. This wine is the complete package and has lived up to all the hype. The epitome of an iron fist in a velvet glove. Drink over the next decade.

My rating: 99 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.

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2004 Herb Lamb Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

In 1987 Jennifer and Herb Lamb purchased a little over 7 acres of hillside property on the eastern hillsides of St. Helena just below Howell Mountain. Starting in 1991 the fruit was sold to wineries like Karl Lawrence and Colgin. In 1997, with winemaker Mike Trujillo at the helm, they released the first vintage of Herb Lamb Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dark crimson in color. 14.2% ABV. Scintillating nose of red fruits, cassis, tobacco and scorched earth. Big, plush and super silky. Full bodied and perfectly balanced. Currants, creme de cassis and dark chocolate on the palate. There are substantial fine grained tannins on an extraordinarily long finish. Fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon from a great vintage and an iconic vineyard. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 95 points.

Given the pedigree, Herb Lamb Cabernet Sauvignon is fairly priced at $150 per bottle. The wine is only available via the mailing list.

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2014 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 2014.

Opaque purple in color. 14.1% ABV. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. Supreme nose of black fruits, molten licorice, scorched earth and cassis liqueur. Exceptionally plush and concentrated. Black cherry, raspberry, currants and cassis on the palate. Silky tannins emerge on an endless finish. For me this is the gateway wine to Spottswoode and the ’14 version is the best yet. Drink over the next 5-8 years.

My rating: 95 points.

The 2014 vintage was released recently and is readily available. At $85 it is fairly priced given the pedigree.

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

This review was based on a sample provided by the winery.

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2002 Betz Family Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille – Bottle Notes

Betz Family Winery was founded in 1997 by Bob & Cathy Betz. Critical acclaim from local and national wine publications has put Betz Family Winery at the forefront of Washington wines alongside Cayuse, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. The winery was sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel over five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

Violet in color. 14.4% ABV. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 6% Malbec. Powerful nose of black fruits, smoke and graphite. Medium to full bodied with medium acidity. Big and plush with resolved tannins. Blackberry, black cherry and currants on the palate. The finish is long and silky. For me the wines from Betz age ever so slowly. At 15 years of age this one is finally ready to go. Best over the next several years.

My rating: 92 points.

I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wines from Betz are readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. The 2015 Pere de Famille will be released to the mailing list and retail next Spring. I’ll be a buyer.

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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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