Marietta Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
This wine smells and tastes like a classic Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on the '99 Cab is rich with cassis, black currants, and cherries, complimented by subtle oak. Broad and smooth, the wine is structurally
balanced by sufficient tannins and acid to carry through to a lingering finish. Big and bold in its youth, this wine provides several years aging potential within which it can be expected to refine and solidify. It is hard to let sit, however, with such a high caliber of fruit showing so early.
Marietta Cellars is just outside the little town of Geyserville in California's premier wine growing region, Sonoma County. Owner and winemaker Chris Bilbro founded Marietta Cellars in 1979 after cutting his wine business teeth by working at Bandiera founded by his grandparents Emil and Luduina Bandiera in 1937. Today, case production nears 30,000--all of which is totally allocated. The wines currently produced are Cabernet, Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, a proprietary blend called Old Vine Red, and a limited-quantity special blend called Angeli Cuvee. Occasionally, a Port is added to the line-up.
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About Sonoma County
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
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.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
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.