California Cabernet and Bordeaux Blends

Paul Hobbs, Oakville Napa Valley, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 The sense of Cassis is quite vibrant in the nose. The vividness of the fruit continues in the mouth with the structure of Cabernet. You know it’s Cabernet by its tannic backbone, yet the edges are polished and ripe – excellent. Hobbs is truly the master at producing elegant, polished Cabernet. P&B in Sebastopol 15.2% purchased for $170 at Bottle Barn Paul Hobbs

Peter Michael Winery, Knights Valley, L’Esprit des Pavots 2007 The  nose features cocoa and vanilla. In the mouth this wine is chewy, quite tannic and at this stage just a baby. The grapes behind this Bordeaux-style blend are 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 16% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Estate Bottled in Calistoga 14.6% purchased for $84.99 at Bottle Barn Peter Michael Winery

Opus One, Napa Valley, Red Wine 2007 In the nose you have the feeling of Bordeaux, a bit of leather, tobacco, cedar and black fruit. In the mouth that French theme continues, showing us the acidity that will make this wine food-friendly. Yes it is structured but approachable, deserving a good 8 years in the cellar but apropos if a rare steak is available – nice. P&B in Oakville 14.7% purchased for $158 at Bottle Barn Opus One

Dry Creek Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, The Mariner 2005 13.9% purchased for $38.99 at Bottle Barn Dry Creek Vineyard

Rubicon Estate, Rutherford, Napa Valley, Rubicon 2004 The nose is sweet and fetching, displaying great ripeness of black fruit with sweet notes of caramel and brown spices – a bit like a Linzer Torte. In the mouth this wine continues as a winner, with the ripe fruit complemented by tannins of a velvety nature. The acidity drives the flavor for a long time – very nice. Grown, produced and bottled in Rutherford 14.5% purchased for $113 at Bottle Barn Rubicon Estate

About Ray

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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