Michel-Schlumberger Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
In abnormal vintages, terroir, the uniqueness due to all aspects of vineyard site, can be everything. In spite of a warm summer, our Cabernet harvest was late, beginning well after mid-October, finishing with 128 days of maturing time between bloom and harvest. Because of this long maturation, the fruit had ample time to achieve the ripe tannin necessary for the paradoxically soft, while eminently age-worthy, red wine high in healthy mouth-filling tannin. Some have dubbed this the "yummy factor." Whatever you call it, this wine has plenty.
It is lovely, rich textured, approachable, and thoroughly enjoyable. The vineyard's intrinsic quality comes through in the wine's depth of flavor. The more hedonistic fruity flavors and inviting texture are supported by pleasant earth-tones and the spice common to our wines. These are the aromas that will come forward, center stage, as the wine matures, suggesting "cedar-y" cigar boxes and redwood forests. -Winemaker Fred Payne
Established in 1979, the benchland vineyards of Michel-Schlumberger overlook Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. Influenced by his family's four hundred years of grape growing and winemaking in Alsace, owner Jacques Schlumberger is committed to producing small lots of fine wine imprinted with the property's distinct terroir.Winemaker Fred Payne applies the highest standards to compose classic wines which express the intriguing nuances of each vintage. Partly modern naturalist and partly old-fashioned farmer, he strongly believes Michel-Schlumberger wines are representative of their soil, climate and grape.
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About Sonoma County
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about half as much wine as its northeasterly neighbor. Because of its vast size, however, Sonoma is able to achieve far more diversity within its borders, which include sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid-back and down-to-earth, but the wines are serious and well-made, ranging in style from subtle and elegant to rich and powerful. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable Facts 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.