A roller coaster start to the 2001 growing season led into nearperfect temperatures and cool nights during the last few months before harvest, ensuring fully ripe Cabernet grapes with mature phenolics and balanced acids and tannins. Our 2001 Cabernet displays Grgich Hills' trademark bouquet of intense cassis and cedar, followed by more subtle nuances of roses, licorice, and dried cherries. On the palate, rich extraction is balanced by moderate tannins and acidity. Ripe black fruit, plums, and dark cherries harmonize in the mouth with notes of cigar box, anise, and spicy oak to form this elegant, full-bodied wine. The finish is concentrated and persistent, with layers of mocha, caramel, cassis, cherries, and vanilla. This young, structured wine should mature well over the next several years, developing additional complexity and depth of flavor.
Grgich Hills Cellar Winery
Mike Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated "Paris Tasting" of 1976 in which a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When the results where in, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen Mike’s 1973 Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike Grgich a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
Today, in Grgich Hills' 30th year, they remain committed to creating richly flavored, distinctive wines from certified organic Napa Valley vineyards that are farmed biodynamically. By all accounts they have succeeded. The new release of Cabernet Sauvignon just received a whopping 94 rating from Wine & Spirits and the Wine News awarded "Chardonnay of the Year" honors to their 2004 vintage. These world renowned Estate grown wines from prime Napa Valley vineyards are unique, delicious, and allocated.
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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.