This Cabernet Sauvignon is always a great value from California. An open aroma dominated by dark, blackberry and currant-like fruit. Nearly two years aging in small barrels has added complex nuances of vanilla, coffee and spice which are complemented by one of the most extracted, ripe berry flavored wines in recent memory. The rich tannin backbone and balanced acidity round out a very complete Cabernet Sauvignon.
"Readers should be on the lookout for the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley (30,900 cases). It offers a deep ruby/purple color as well as a sweet perfume of black currants, lead pencil shavings, new oak, and earth. The wine is medium-bodied, with supple tannin and rich, concentrated fruit. It will drink well for a decade." -Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
Winemaker Ed Killian has been making wine in California's Alexander Valley for 25 years. he knows the vineyards in the valley inside and out and understands which blocks will give him the fruit he is looking for to create Souverain's signature style. Souverain's 120-year-old estate in the Alexander Valley is the primary source for grapes for the illustrious portfolio of Souverain wines. Killian consistently produces outstanding wines that represent the best of Alexander Valley, including an Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the flagship Winemaker's Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
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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.
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.
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.