Alexander Valley Vineyards Cyrus 2014
The 2014 growing season was very similar to 2013. The drought, combined with a mild winter and spring, caused an early bud break. However, the overall length of the growing season was similar to past years. The lack of rain did not impact our fruit due to moderate temperatures throughout the growing season and the grapes ripened evenly. While news of the drought dominated conversations, there was an upside, the grapes had rich, concentrated flavors, much like the 2013 vintage. After harvest each lot was fermented and aged separately for 12 months, blended to showcase the vintage, then aged for an additional 12 months in French oak barrels to meld the flavors. Additional bottle aging resulted in a seamless blend. The 2014 has dark purple color and layered, earthy aromas of cassis, black cherry, chocolate, and cherry along with hints of toasty oak and vanilla. This is a silky wine with flavors of cassis, dark chocolate, dark fruits, dusty cherry, and a hint of cedar. The 2014 CYRUS boasts smooth texture, excellent balance and a long structured finish. As this wine sits in the glass it just keeps building on itself, hinting at the complexity that will occur with additional cellar aging.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2014 Cyrus is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 17% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep ruby, it opens with tons of chocolate-cherry aromas accented by graphite, old leather, dried herbs, cedar, bay leaf, soil and cigar box. Medium to full-bodied, it's hinting at tertiary character, the fruits beginning to transform, with firm, chewy tannins and a long, refreshing finish. 2,807 cases produced.
The Wetzel Family Estate now grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Vineyard Manager Mark Houser and Winemaker Kevin Hall work as a team to maximize fruit flavor in the vineyard and to create balanced wines that capture the grapes’ varietal characteristics. Hank Wetzel oversees the vineyard and winery operations, and his wife Linda continues to oversee administration. Now the third generation of Wetzels has joined the winery. Harry Wetzel, IV is assistant winemaker while younger brother Robert is the National Sales Manager.
Alexander Valley Vineyards produces 100,000 cases annually, 17 varietal wines and proprietary blends. Seventy-five percent of AVV’s production is red wine. Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon constitute roughly half of total production. Other varietals include Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Cabernet Franc.
Nearly a northern extension of Napa Valley, Alexander Valley starts just north of the small, Knights Valley, and is just a few minutes drive from the Napa town of Calistoga. It is Sonoma County’s hottest AVA. But the Russian River, which runs through the valley, creates cooler pockets and its soft, alluvial soil is ideal for grape growing, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, some believe that Alexander Valley Cabernets truly rival the best from Napa Valley and many of the heavy-hitter producers have largely invested here.
In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up over 50% of plantings, Merlot and old vine Zinfandel thrive here. Ample, fleshy Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate white wine production. Some old-vine plantings of Grenache have also been discovered and more recent experiments with Sangiovese and Barbera show great promise.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.