"Just beautiful California claret." -Wine Enthusiast
Cinq Cépages ("Five Varieties") is a Bordeaux-style blend consisting of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon,
10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. Each component is aged separately for two years in small French oak barrels (56% new) before blending. Once the wine is assembled, it spends six months in the
bottle before release.
Fruit for this Cabernet Sauvignon was selected from the finest Bordeaux variety vineyards in Sonoma County: 60% from Alexander Valley, 15% from Sonoma Valley, 15% from Knights Valley, 6% from Russian River Valley and 4% Dry Creek Valley to assemble a wine that showcases Sonoma County. The Alexander Valley grapes highlight
bright berry with back notes of dried herbs, while the Sonoma Valley fruit is from the St. Jean Estate Vineyard, and brings black and dense mountain fruit to the blend. The Knights Valley fruit adds a firm mouthfeel and pronounced tannins and the Dry Creek Valley grapes tend toward dark, dense black cherry and berry fruit
flavors with a rich mouthfeel. The Russian River Valley brings exotic aromas and lush textures to complete the blend.
A classic Cinq Cépages, the 2003 vintage offers the signature chocolate-covered cherry and boysenberry aromas that have come to define this flagship Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. Lush, elegant and gracefully balanced, the wine delivers sweet plum and dark berry flavors and an exotic floral note that wraps around big, juicy tannins. This highly concentrated wine has beautiful oak integration and a lushness
throughout that leads to a lingering finish.
Chateau St. Jean Winery
Founded in 1973 in the Sonoma Valley, Chateau St. Jean is the quintessential Sonoma winery. Chateau St. Jean produces an extensive portfolio of Sonoma County wines as well as vineyard designated wines, limited production Reserve wines, and the flagship Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren uses her more than 30 years of vineyard and winemaking expertise with Chateau St. Jean to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of each vineyard site to produce exceptional wines. Chateau St. Jean was the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award from Wine Spectator Magazine for its 1996 Cinq Cépages, a Bordeaux style blend of “five varieties” and has long been recognized as a leader in vineyard designated wines.
View all Chateau St. Jean Wines
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.
This review is from the tasting of a half bottle. The rim of the wine (meniscus) was browning a bit, showing the wine had aged some. Upon first opening, I notice a lot of vanilla on the nose, although upon tasting the vanilla was wound tight and the finish was a bit astringent. After about 30 minutes, the vanilla opened and gave way to spice and worn leather. After 8 hours, the mouth feel and flavor were as if Ricola honey cough drops had been dissolved in the wine.
This is a beautiful wine, fruit front with a mellow earth like finish. Not to dry and feels very nice on the tongue. This wine will do even better some time, but I will start to drink a couple each year.
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.