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Cabernet Sauvignon reigns supreme in the Napa Valley, yet other counties produce some fine examples of the varietal. In the Napa Valley there are distinct variations, but throughout the rest of California, the variations become more apparent. This is a good opportunity to explore the varietal as it is expressed in the several major Cab producing areas, along side that of Napa. As a change of pace, we will conclude the event with a honey wine from Ireland: Bunratty Mead.
2004 Sly Dog Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County
The Red Hills District of Lake County is noted for red gravely loam soils which allow deep root penetration to help produce small flavorful berries with succinct fruit flavors. Hot summer days and cool nights constitute a perfect weather climate that contribute to fruit forward, well balanced and flavorful wines. The bouquet of this wine suggests raspberries and dried rose petals. The flavor profile includes red raspberries, currants and anise with oak flavors of vanilla and white pepper.
2005 Galante Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmel Valley
The Galante Family has a long history in the Monterey area. Owner Jack Galante’s great grandfather, J.F. Devendorf, was the founder of the town of Carmel. In 1969, Jack’s parents purchased a 700-acre cattle ranch in rustic Carmel Valley. While still maintaining a working cattle ranch, the Galantes, in 1983, began growing premium grapes on their property, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1994, Jack Galante decided to build a winery which now produces three separate bottlings of Cab. This, the Rancho Galante, recently won a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
2002 Kunde Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley
First planted in 1879 by viticultural pioneers James Shaw and Captain John Drummond, with imported cuttings from Chateaux Margaux and Lafite Rothschild, the Kunde estate is comprised of 800 acres planted with vineyards stretching for two miles along scenic Sonoma Highway in the Valley of the Moon. This wine shows aromas and flavors of fresh black cherries with added nuances on the palate of rich chocolate, mushrooms, coffee, and velvety tannins.
2003 Eden Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
The Villamin family vineyard consists of dry, steep hills at 1,800’ elevation. The vines are warmed by sandstone, granite, and Franciscan rock and by the sun’s heat averaging 90+ degrees in the summer. The cool nights balance out the hot days and produce wines that show a sweet plum nose. The flavors begin with strawberries, nutmeg, blueberries,
black currant, caramel, and a sandstone minerality. The wine ends with smooth tannins, bittersweet chocolate, and butterscotch.
2002 Schweiger Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Fred Schweiger’s property on Spring Mountain consists of 61 acres at an elevation of 2,000 feet (above the fog line). It features rich volcanic soils and unique microclimates particularly favorable for Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose of the wine is lively with essences of berries, plum, and toasty oak. The sweet, supple entry builds into a deeply intense middle, followed by a pleasant, velvety, lingering finish.
Mead can be traced back to many centuries before Christ. It became the chief drink of the Irish and was often referred to in Gaelic poetry. Bunratty Meade is a traditional wine, produced from an ancient Irish recipe of pure honey, fruit of the vine and natural herbs. It’s a medium sweet wine, with a wide taste appeal. As the drink of the ancient Celts, Mead derives much of its appeal through Irish Folklore. It was believed that mead was essential for sending off the bride and groom after wedding. The couple was provided with enough Mead to toast each other for a month after their wedding, hence the term “honeymoon”.