Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2007 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon.
Caymus Vineyards, a family owned winery, is one of Napa Valley’s many iconic Cabernet Sauvignon producers. The winery is owned by the Wagner family who have been Napa-based in the Rutherford appellations since 1906 following the San Francisco earthquake. They started planting vineyards that same year. For many years they grew they own grapes for use in bulk wines. In 1941 the family purchased 70 acres of prime vineyard in Rutherford, but it took another 20 years before they started seriously planting high-quality grapevines on land that had been a fruit ranch. They continued farming vineyards until the winery was eventually launched.
In 1971 Charles F. (Charlie) Wagner and his wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner asked their son Charles J. (Chuck) Wagner, who had just graduated from high school, if he would be interested in joining them in starting up a winery. If Chuck declined the offer, Charlie and Lorna were planning to sell out of their ranch in Napa Valley and move to Australia. Chuck accepted his parents’ offer to launch the winery, Caymus Vineyards.
The Wagner’s produced their first vintage in 1972 producing 240 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. Caymus Vineyards took its name from the original Mexican land grant known as Rancho Caymus, awarded to George Young in 1836. The grant encompassed land that eventually became the town of Rutherford.
Caymus produces two Cabernet Sauvignon, their top of the line Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, and their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Both bottlings have been very consistent over the years garnering 90+ scores from Wine Spectator, with this bottling being scored less than 90 points only twice in the last twenty years. And the Caymus Special Selection is the only wine in history to be named “Wine of the Year”. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, Caymus also produces a Napa Valley Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Unlike many iconic Napa Valley Cabs which must be purchased on faith because they’re not available for tasting, Caymus offers a sit-down tasting hosted by their “wine educator” featuring four Caymus Vineyards wines, including the current release of Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The tastings run $30.
Grapes for this wine are sourced from multiple AVAs throughout Napa Valley and represent Napa’s geographically small but diverse terroir. It includes both mountain fruit, and fruit from the valley floor.
2007 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon
My tasting notes follow:
Inky violet color with black currant, tobacco, blackberry, mint, cedarwood and a bit of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-full bodied, focused and deftly balanced with blackcurrant, blackberry, and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors wrapped in sweet fine grained tannins. Long finish. – 92pts
Rating: Highly recommended. This wine is, relatively speaking, for an iconic Napa Valley Cab producer a good value at $60. You could easily spend more and not get the consistent quality Caymus delivers.
Pair with: This is a rich supple wine that many will enjoy one its own. Of course, carnivores will enjoy this wine with beef, ostrich, venison, lamb or wild fowl. Also consider with grilled dished, hearty stews, or braised ribs. It would also pair well with meaty fish like tuna or swordfish, especially grilled.
Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2008 Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon.
Robert Keenan Winery is located in the Spring Mountain District AVA (it’s one of 16 sub-appellations of the Napa Valley AVA). The Spring Mountain District sits on the steep terraces of the Mayacamas Mountains - well off the beaten path of Highway 29. and high above the Napa Valley floor at an elevation of 1,700 feet.
The site for the winery has a long history in the Napa Valley. Robert Conradi started the first winery on site in the late 1800s, but went out of business during prohibition. Robert Keenan, who ran his own insurance agency for 20 years before purchasing his “retirement property” – 180 acres of land in 1974. He had an engineer redesign the original winery structure, and brought in a contractor to begin construction.
Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were the initial grapes planted. Their first harvest was 1977.
They recently completed a solar power system on the property to supply all of the winery’s power. As a result all their estate wines carry the “Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed” phrase on the label.
Rightfully so, Keenan winery is proud of their track record with Robert Parker, Jr. As stated on their website…
See and taste for yourself why in the last eight vintages, 42 wines have been rated between 90 and 97 points by Robert Parker Jr.
Today, aside from the aforementioned Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, Keenan produces Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah. Annual production is nearly 14,000 cases.
I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting Keenan, but after tasting this wine, it’s at the top of my list for my next visit to Napa (click here for a virtual tour of the winery)!
The wine is mostly composed of mountain fruit from the Keenan estate, with the balance of the fruit sourced from Pope Valley. According to Keenan…”The Estate grown Cabernet imparts amazing concentrationand remarkable structure, while the portion of Cabernet harvested from Pope Valleyadds complex aromas and a balanced mid-palate.”
2008 Robert Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley
My tasting notes follow:
Opaque violet color and aromatically complex with dried herb, dark fruit, graphite, and chocolate aromas. On the palate it’s intense, medium-full-bodied, and supple with dusty tannins and blueberry, cassis, dried herb, vanilla and chocolate flavors. I Vinturied, but this wine would definitely benefit from some aeration. Medium-long finish – 92pts
Rating: Highly Recommended – This is wine is a fantastic value 40 bucks! I’ve enjoyed it more than many Napa Valley Cabs selling for 2x or 3x the price (Opus One comes to mind it’s 5x the price of this wine)!
Pair with: Juicy red meat like steaks and chops. Of course a T-bone, or Rib-eye steak are classics, but also consider lamb chops, Korean Sizzling Beef, Shepherd’s Pie, or a Cheddar Cheese Bacon burger!
This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about soul warming foods. You know, those soups, chili, stews, and other soul warming treat we seek when the weather turns cold.
When I first saw the theme, my first thought was of “Soul Food”. I’d bet that “Soul food” is one of those phrases that if you ask 10 people what it means, you’d get 10 different answers! Soul Warming foods and Soul food are one in the same to me, and when I think of Soul food, the first dish that comes to mind is Gumbo! We have a tradition in our family of making Gumbo each New Year’s day, but it’s a soul-satisfying meal whenever there’s a chill in the air.
Since I’m a Wino with latent foodie tendencies, I decided let my foodie nature rise up, and do a dish, and wine pairings this week!
Here’s my Seafood Gumbo (we …OK make that “I”, call it “Yumbo” – lame right?..but I like it!)
For me, there are two things you’ve got to get right to make a gumbo – the “roux” (I prefer mine to be dark brownish), and you must have stock that is chock full of flavors. Sure you could take a short-cut, and go with store-bought (I’ve done that for a ” quick and dirty” version of this dish, but the flavors are not as complex and intense for me. If you get those couple of things “right”, it’s clear sailing thereafter!
Seafood Gumbo and Wine Pairings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper
Author: Martin D. Redmond
Recipe type: Stew
Adapted from Emeril’s Classic Seafood Gumbo recipe
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups finely chopped onions
¾ cup finely chopped green bell peppers
¾ cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
One 12-ounce bottle amber beer
6 cups Shrimp and Crab Stock
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 small Dungeness crabs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Emeril’s Original Essence
2 cups shucked oysters with their liquor
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped tender green onion tops
Follow directions for cleaning and prepping crab to be cooked (click here, except remove crab legs and claws. Follow directions for Shrimp and Crab stock, except add crab shell and crab butter (roe) along with shrimp.
Place an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, and add the oil. Allow the oil to heat for about 5 minutes, then add the flour to the pot. Stir the oil and flour together with a wooden spoon to form a roux. Continue to stir the roux for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the color of milk chocolate. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux and stir to blend. Stir the vegetables for 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beer and Shrimp and Crab Stock to the pot. Season the gumbo with the thyme, bay leaves, crabs legs, Worcestershire, salt, and cayenne. Bring the gumbo to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer the gumbo for 1 hour, skimming the foam and any oil that rises to the surface.
Season both the shrimp with 1½ teaspoons Essence. Stir the shrimp into the gumbo and cook for 2 minutes. Add the oysters to the pot and cook, stirring often, for an additional 5 minutes. Taste the gumbo and season if necessary.
Garnish with the parsley and green onions and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.
Recommended Wine Pairings – I paired this with the Navarro Vineyards Edelzwicker, a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. It would also pair well with Viognier, a dry Rosé, or White Zinfandel. If you elect to go with a less spicy version try a Pinot Noir!
Take a look at the culinary cornucopia the #SundaySupper team has put together for this week’s gathering around the #SundaySupper table! My recommended wine pairings (click on the name of the wine to find out where to purchase) are italicized.
Pair these main dishes with Pinot Noir. Look for the 2010 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir. It’s a silky smooth Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with a core of raspberry and spice aromas and flavors, with caramel edge. Why it works: Pinot goes with just about everything. It’s a white wine, in red wine clothing, which makes it incredibly flexible with dishes and methods of prep. Pinot is sublime with poultry, and complements foods that are slow roasted, or braised.
I recommend a Chardonnay for these dishes. Look for the 2009 MacMurray Ranch Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. It’s a medium-full bodied Chardonnay that’s undergone malolactic fermentation, that’s moderately oaked. The oak aging brings vanilla and caramel notes to the party to go along with its ripe apple, tropical fruit and lemon cream character. Why it works: The texture, and weight of wine complement the dish, and it has enough acidity to “cut” the dish a bit and prepare the palate for the next mouthwatering bite.
Pair this dish with a Tempranillo from Rioja Spain. I really like the 2007 Viña Eguia Reserva. It’s shows great balance between oak and fruit with a cherry, dried herb, spice, leather and vanilla character. Why it works: Tempranillo is an underrated food pairing partner. It’s tends to be a light-medium bodied earthy red wine. It’s between a Pinot Noir and Cab. It’s fruity with moderate tannins, and acidity making it a good fit for somewhat spicy fare like Spanish, Mexican and similarly spiced fare.
Pair this classic Italian dish with Sangiovese. Try the 2010 La Mozza I Perazzi Morellino di Scansano. It’s a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah, 5% Alicante, plus a couple of other indigenous Italian grape varieties from Tuscany It shows juicy red and black berries, with some licorice and spice notes supported by soft dusty tannins. Why it works: The food of a place and the wine of a place is always a good place to start when pairing wine and food. On top of that, its high acidity, together with its medium-bodied character enable it to stand up to more substantial dishes. Sangiovese is a wine that loves dished prepared with fresh herbs, rich thick soups, mushrooms and tomato based dishes
Pair this dish with an Edelzwicker, a blend of the “noble” Alsatian varietals of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. Look for the 2011 Navarro Vineyards Edelzwicker. It’s an aromatic white wine with a stone fruit, spice, and hint of citrus character. Why it works: The spicy character of the wine, along with some sweetness (spicy likes sweet) and acidity make a great match!
Pair these hearty dishes with Cabernet Sauvignon. One of my favorites is the 2010 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon “H3″ It’s from Washington State, and is a bold wine that delivers delightful floral, dark fruit, cocoa aromas followed by plum, black cherry, vanilla and cocoa flavors. Why it works: Cab works well with red meats, dishes with earthy, herbal elements. This youthful wine has plenty of fruit which make it a nice complement to longer cooked meats and stews.
Try these dishes these with a Cru Beaujolais (not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau hitting the store shelfs soon), a wine from France made from the Gamay grape. Look for the 2010 Georges Debœuf Moulin-à-Ventwith a wild red fruits, and white pepper character that a juicy easy drinker. Why it works: Like Pinot Noir, the Gamay grape is naturally high in acidity, and is light-medium bodied with low tannins. It pair well with dishes with veggies,earthy flavors. Great picnic wine too! Er..but I digress;-)
Syrah is a good match for these hearty flavorful dishes. I like the 2009 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz from Australia. It’s has a fruity core of black cherries, plums, baking spices, and vanilla that balanced by some oak. Why it works: Syrah is an ample full-bodied wine that likes thicker, fuller dishes like slow braises, stews (especially tomato-based), and one-dish meals.
Pair these soul-warming soups with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Pouilly-Fumé region of the Loire Valley in France. Look for the 2011 Patient Cottat “Le Grand Caillou” Sauvignon Blanc. It has a lovely tropical fruit, citrus, spice and mineral character with a tangy acidity. Why it works: Sauvignon Blanc with its “green” (gooseberries, lime, green olive, papaya character and a mineral component attributable to the terroir of the Loire Valley make this a good match for vegetarian soups, spicy (hot) fare, dishes with acidic ingredients. It’s a very versatile food pairing partner in that it work nicely as a complement or a contrast.
Pair these satisfying soups with Pinot Gris. I recommend the 2011 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection from Oregon. It has juicy lemon-lime, stone-fruit, green apple, pineapple and spice character. Why it works: Pinot Gris likes ethic foods, especially coconut-milk based curries.
Pair this Hot Fudge Pudding Cake (That Skinny Chick Can Bake)with the Terra d’Oro Zinfandel “Port”, a dessert wine made for chocolate! I like the what the Wine Enthusiast says about it…”The first duty of a Port-style wine is to be dazzlingly rich and sweet yet balanced in acidity, and this bottling is all that. Waves of blackberry jam, cassis and dark chocolate are brightened with zesty acidity…
Join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. And join us at 7pm EST, for our live weekly #SundaySupper chat. All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
And be sure to check out the #SundaySupper Pinterest board. We’d love to feature your Sunday Supper Soul Warming Recipes and share them with all of our followers.
Not familiar with the Yecla region of Spain? Join the club, neither was I! What I do know about Spain is that it consistently offers great value in its wines. Whenever I look for great QPR wine, I alway start with Spanish wine! And whenever, I find one as good as this one, and consider what it cost, I inevitably ask myself why I’m not drinking more Spanish wine! It’s a country whose wines I intend to explore more…
The region is made up of a single district, but the local wine community divides the area into two – Yecla Campo Arriba, and Yecla Campo Abajo. Yecla Campo Arriba is considered superior because of its old vines. Yecla was granted DO status in 1975.
Bodegas Castaño is a family run private winery that has had a winemaking presence in the region for generations. They own about 400 hectares (approximately 10% of the DO) in four prime locations.
This wine has an excellent track record. Previous vintages (2001-2006) were all scored 90+ point and considered best values by the Wine Advocate and the International Wine Cellar.
2007 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas – Great QPR!
Here’s what the producer says about the wine…
“This special limited production wine is an example of the high quality potential of the emerging Yecla region in Southern Spain. Solanera is produced from the oldest vines of the indigenous Monastrell, along with low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tintorera which is aged in oak for 10 months..This wine is a custom blend for Eric Solomon and is bottled unfiltered and unfined.”
My tasting notes follow:
Opaque violet color with sweet tobacco, cedarwood, sweet dark fruits, and hint of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with supple tannins, and surprisingly fresh acidity with dark cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and a bit of cassis flavors. Long finish.
Yesterday was #CabernetDay – a worldwide celebration of the Cabernet grape ( you do know there’s another Cabernet beyond his royal highness Cabernet Sauvignon, right?- there’s also Cabernet Franc) . It’s a chance to get together with friends and kick it with some Cab! Since there’s hashtag you can also kick it with your friends on social media.
“A bottle of wine begs to be shared: I have never met a miserly wine lover” – Clifton Paul Fadiman
My wife and I decided to celebrate the third annual #CabernetDay by inviting some of our wine loving friends from our community wine-tasting club over. The Evite simply stated ”We’ll open up a couple of great bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Redmond Cellar and chop it up!”
#CabernetDay – Friend, Food, and Fun!
In other words, no blind-tasting, no tasting notes – just a communion with Cab, conversation, and cuisine (okay…it wasn’t really “cuisine” it was more like carry-out, cheese and crackers but I couldn’t resist a lame attempt at an alliteration – I give myself a “C” )
Of course when wine lovers get together there are plenty of words. Certainly, there was talk of aromas, flavors, body, finishes, etc. But mostly we talked about other stuff - like how to get rid of ants (Terro is literally “killer” ant control by the way), our kids, fun times like vacation and scaring the hell out of 5 year-olds on Halloween. And on this night, we also “chopped it up” on some “third rail” topics like politics, race, and discrimination. Interesting and intellectual indeed.
But beyond all the words, there is what we do, or as the saying goes – “Action speaks louder than words”. So when I get together with my wine loving friends and we’ve got a bunch-o-bottles of wine from which to choose, I pay attention to which wine disappears first. And that tells me more than the all words uttered about the wine. In that regard, there was a clear winner last night – a wine that disappeared stunningly swiftly – Damn quick, fast and in a hurry! More on that later. I hereby offer my words in the form of tasting notes on the five wines we enjoyed last night.
Dark garnet color with aromatic cassis, licorice, plum, and boxwood aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-full bodied with black raspberry, black currant, cocoa flavors. Slightly tannic. Young. Medium-long finish – 88 pts
Varietal(s) - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon/11% Merlot/3% Syrah, and 1% Malbec. Appellation – Napa Valley; Cooperage – Aged 20 months in small oak barrels (25% new) Alcohol – 13.5%; SRP – $28; Production: 117,000 cases; Media sample
Deep garnet color with lifted dark fruit, anise, and earthy aromas. On the palate it medium-full bodied and smooth with well-integrated tannins, cassis, black cherry, and vanilla flavors. Long finish. - 91pts
Varietal(s) – 69% Cabernet Sauvignon/10% Malbec/8% Cabernet French/7% Merlot/6% Petit Verdot: Appellation – Sonoma County; Cooperage – Aged 20 months in French oak (45% new, 55% older ); Alcohol – 14.2%; SRP – $58; Production: Unknown
Deep garnet color with aromatic dark fruits, licorice, mint, and oak aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied with well-integrated “Rutherford Dust”tannins, good acidity and ripe cherry, blueberry, and cocoa flavors. Long finish. 15.2% alcohol.
Varietal(s) - 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; Appellation – Napa Valley; Cooperage: Aged 18 months in French oak (50% new); Alcohol – 15.2%; SRP – $45; Production: 260 cases
Carmine color with beguiling cassis, anise, and violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, balanced, and fresh blueberry, cherry, vanilla flavors with well-integrated tannins. Medium-long finish.
Varietal(s) – 75% Cabernet Sauvignon/20% Merlot/3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc; Appellation – Santa Cruz Mountains; Cooperage - 100% air-dried american oak barrels; (40% new, 50% one year old, and 10% two years old). 20 months in barrel; Alcohol – 13.5%; SRP – $38; Production: unknown
There were 9 tasters, 5 of which I would consider “hard-core” wine lovers. We enjoyed all the wines. But as I stated earlier there was one wine that disappeared more quickly than all the rest….
2008 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
It was the clear winner in that regard. Next fastest was the 2007 Piña, followed by the 2005 F-C Trésor, the 2010 Wild Horse, and the 2010 Franciscan Estate. For the value, the majority of the tasters preferred the Wild Horse.
It was a great evening great evening with friends, wine and food! Let’s do it again next month for the #PinotSmackdown!
Seghesio Family Vineyards is a Sonoma County winery located in Healdsburg. It was founded in 1895 by Italian immigrants Edoardo and Angela Seghesio. They purchased a 4 acre vineyard and built a winery in 1902. Today, Seghesio owns a collection of estate vineyards composed 160 acres located in Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley. The winery is run by the 3rd and 4th generation Seghesio family members. It was sold to Napa-based Crimson Wine Group last year. CEO Peter Seghesio, and his cousin, winemaker Ted Seghesio , stayed on after the acquisition. They produce approximately 100,000 cases annually. They are best known for their Zinfandel, but they also produce Pinot Noir, and various Italian varietals including, Sangiovese, Arneis, Barbera, and Pinot Grigio.
I was introduced to Seghesio several years ago, when my wife and I were to Healdsburg a few times a year. We purchased this wine in 2009. Frankly, I’m surprised we were able to hold on to it for 3 years!
I must say that Seghesio puts on some great events. My wife and I attended the 2010 Chef’s Harvest event. It was a great event where learned the about the versatility of Zinfandel with a variety of world cuisines. And last year when we attended Passport to Dry Creek Valley, it was one of our favorite stop. If you’re in Healdsburg, you must drop in!
“Omaggio,” is Italian for homage. The wine is a tribute to the founders. This “Super-Tuscan” blend was initially released in 1995 for Seghesio’s centennial harvest. It’s been produced annually since, with the exception of the 2000 vintage.
This a flagship wine produced from their best blocks of estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes grown on their Home Ranch Vineyard in Alexander Valley. The grapes were hand-harvested, and each lot went through the “saignée” (pronounced “sonyay”) process, whereby some grape juice is bled off prior to fermentation. The level of tannins and color is intensified in the remaining juice. The wine is aged 18 months in French oak barrels, a third fo which are new.
My tasting notes follow:
Dark garnet color with dark fruit, anise, vanilla, cedarwood, and a hint of dark chocolate aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, well-balanced with very good acidity and black cherry, black currant, vanilla, and clove flavors. Medium-long finish. When I tasted at the winery a couple of years ago, it was a little hot, but it’s drinking very nicely now! - 90pts
Recommendation: This was an outstanding wine. It’s definitely ready to drink now. Pair with Shepherd’s Pie, Veal Parmesan, Osso Buco, or a steak!
You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around. I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!
The Robert Mondavi Winery was established in 1966 by Robert Mondavi, one of the most influential and esteemed winemakers in California history (Click here for his story). It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley, and for decades was California’s most famous winery. It was acquired by Constellation Brands in 2004.
It’s a beautiful property with classic California mission-style architecture, with the expansive archway and bell tower. I must confess, I haven’t been in a long time. I recall visiting one of my first trips to Napa. Nowadays, I tend to visit the smaller wineries. But after tasting this wine, and their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (see post below), I’m going to have to drop by next time I go to Napa!
The grapes for this wine are sourced from vineyards throughout Napa Valley including a couple of Napa’s iconic vineyards, To Kalon, and Wappo Hill ( 73% Stags Leap District (including 38% Wappo Hill Vineyard); 15% To Kalon Vineyard; 12% Napa Carneros)
What struck me most about this wine is how well-balanced it is. That’s the exception rather than the rule at its price point of $23!
2009 Robert Mondavi Winery Merlot
My tasting notes follow:
Deep garnet color with cassis, cedarwood, and hints of tobacco aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied,well-balanced with fine-grained tannins, cassis, black cherry, blueberry flavors. Medium finish – 88pts
Recommendation: Highly recommended. It’s a nice value at $23!
I’m a big fan of Petite Sirah. It’s one of my favorite grape varietals. The challenge though for many Petite Sirah (a.k.a. “Pet”, “PS”) lovers, is that the wines can be pricey. If you’re willing to pay $35 and up, finding a very good to excellent PS isn’t hard to do. It’s a much bigger challenge to find one in the $20-25 range, and an even bigger challenge to find one for less than $15, much less $10!
I was introduced to this wine when it was brought to our wine-tasting club’s blind tasting – Petite Sirah night-Round 2 ( The Round 1 winner was the 2010 Redtree Petite Sirah - check out the posts below!). Stay tuned for the Round 2 results later this week!
This wine is produced by Oak Ridge Winery, which was founded in 1934 as a winemaking cooperative of local growers in Lodi, California. Oak Ridge is the oldest operating winery in Lodi. In fact, the original winery’s 50,000 gallon redwood tank has been converted to a tasting room! Over the last 8 years, the historic landmark has been transformed into a state-of-the-industry winery.
Winegrower Rudy Maggio and his partners, Don and Rocky Reynolds, purchased the Oak Ridge Winery in 2001. According their website…
Under the leadership of General Manager Nicholas Karavidas, along with Senior Winemaker Chue Her, Oak Ridge Winery is fast becoming a beacon for Lodi’s future. The winery produces small lots of its own hand-crafted wines, including its signature Old Zin Vines (“OZV”), and offers custom winemaking services to a growing list of wineries and custom brands. Each of our wines and all of our relationships reflect our passion, commitment to quality and uncompromising integrity.
In addition to this wine, Oak Ridge produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Old Vine Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio under the Maggio label. I’m going to have to give a few of those a try!
My tasting notes follow:
Violet color with smoky, earthy dark fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with good acidity and fruity with blackberry, vanilla, cacao, and spice flavors. Medium finish. – 88pts
Recommendation: I enjoyed this wine even more than the Redtree (which is lighter-bodied style wine). It’s a great value at $10. If you’re a fan of Petite Sirah, (or for that matter Cabernet Sauvignon, or Syrah) and are looking for an everyday wine, give this one a try.
Hawk and Horse Vineyards was founded in 1999 by the Boies and Hawkins families. It is located in Lake County, which is north of the Napa Valley. It is a family-owned and operated 1300 acre ranch that includes an 18 acres of vineyards (15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 2001, and 1 acre each of Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, and Petit Verdot planted in 2009). The vineyard soil is rocky, red volcanic soil that are a natural product of volcanic activity from nearby (now dormant) Mt. Konocti.
Their first release was the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to this Cab, they also produce a port-style dessert wine.
The grapes used to produce this wine are estate-grown biodynamically farmed, organic grapes grown at elevations up to 2,200 feet.
This is a great Cab! What stood out for me was how well-balanced it was. Initially, when I realized it was from Lake County, I expected it to be priced lower. However, this is a Cab that can hold its own with anything produced in Napa in my book, and is a good value when I think about Napa Valley Cabs that go for 2-3x, the price of this one. It’s drinking beautifully now, but will easily age another 7-10 years. Highly Recommended
Hawk and Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
My tasting notes follow:
Dark nearly opaque carmine color with beguiling dark fruits, cedar wood, cacao, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, round, elegant, vibrant and persistent with black cherry, cassis, vanilla spice and a hint of cacao. Medium long finish. - 91pts