Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 1996
Bordeaux Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
#1 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 1999
This wine captures the best of "five varieties" the depth and dark fruit of Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), supple texture of Merlot (11%), spice of Cabernet Franc (8%), , roasted coffee of Malbec (3%), and intense color of Petite Verdot (3%).
Black cherry, cassis, chocolate, blueberry and spice fill the nose of this Cabernet Sauvignon blend. On the mouth, concentrated flavors of bittersweet chocolate, blackberry, coffee, toasted oak and tobacco provide this complex wine with a smooth, savory finish.
Wine Spectator - "Dense, rich and complex describes this '96 California Cabernet--with its layers of currant, mineral, plum, cherry and toasty oak and its broad, intense and deeply flavorful finish. An extraordinary wine, scoring classic and well-priced."
The Wine Advocate - "The dark ruby/purple-colored 1996 Cinq Cepages (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot) exhibits a moderately intense nose of black cherries, chocolate, smoke, dried herbs, and toasty oak. As reported last year, it appears to be California's version of a big, rich St.-Emilion. Offering elegance and finesse along with copious quantities of fruit, glycerin, and flavor, this medium to full-bodied wine has evolved nicely over the last year, and can be drunk now as well as over the next 12-15 years."
Chateau St. Jean Winery
Chateau St. Jean is a winemaking estate located at the foot of the Sugarloaf Ridge in Sonoma Valley near Kenwood, California. Founded in 1973, Chateau St. Jean has long been recognized as a leader in Vineyard Designated wines. Winemaker Steve Reeder has built a reputation for making wines of power and elegance. With over 20 years of vineyard and winemaking experience, his knowledge of Sonoma makes him a master in highlighting the best of each vineyard. Chateau St. Jean was the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious "Wine of the Year" award from Wine Spectator for its 1996 Cinq Cepages Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux-style blend of "five varieties." View all Chateau St. Jean Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineriesRelated Links:
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.
Notable FactsThe 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.
About CaliforniaIt'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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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.