The 2009 vintage provided the CADE Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with a dramatic aromatic profile, supported by beautifully integrated tannins that will allow for gentle aging. Aromas of black cherry and creme de cassis are followed on the palate with flavors of bing cherry, pipe tobacco, baker's chocolate and roasted nuts. The elevated structure that the 2009 exhibits can be attributed to the higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon which follows through with a tantalizing finish.
Blend: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot
In 2005, Gavin Newsom, Gordon Getty and John Conover established CADE Estate Winery to craft luxury, high-altitude estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain as a complement to the valley floor wines of Plumpjack Winery. Like Plumpjack, CADE takes its name from Shakespeare, who used the term to refer to the wine casks - or cades - shipped from Bordeaux to England during Elizabethan times. At an elevation of 1800 feet, their estate - 54 contiguous acres surrounding the winery - experiences a unique temperature inversion. During the day, conditions are much cooler than those on the valley floor; evenings grow warmer with the setting sun. CADE's mountainside soils, characterized by volcanic ash and minerals, provide beneficial stress to vines that further concentrates the character of this unique terroir.
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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 & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.