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Posts tagged ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’

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 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.

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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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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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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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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2001 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Bottle Notes

The 2001 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon was the winning bottle in the March Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for two hours.

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. Recent favorable press from Antonio Galloni, formerly of the Wine Advocate, has put a well-deserved spotlight back on the winery.

Crimson in color. 13.6% ABV. Exceptional nose of dark fruits, cedar, tobacco and graphite. Concentrated and powerful with still substantial tannins. The wine builds on the palate with flavors of cassis, currants, black cherries and earth. The finish lingers long after you finish a sip and hints at the potential of this wine 3-5 years from now. Another winner from Randy Dunn.

My rating: 93 points.

Current vintages of Dunn Napa Valley should cost around $75. The wine is readily available at retail and a great value at the price point.

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2001 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon – 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.

The wine was sourced from Mill Creek Upland, Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Leonetti Estate Vineyards. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 4% Carmenere, 3% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc.

Bright crimson in color. 13.8% ABV. Absolutely gorgeous nose of red fruits, graphite and molten licorice. Suave and silky on the palate. Tremendous mouth feel. Flavors of currants, cassis liqueur, plums and minerals. This is a wine of finesse that still packs a punch on the finish. There are still some fine grained tannins here but this wine will not get any better than it is right now. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 93 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 should be able to the new 2013 vintage of Leonetti Cabernet for right around $100.

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