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Antinori Solaia 2008
Intense ruby red in color, this wine displays classic Cabernet Sauvignon character with intense fruit-driven romas of ripe cherries and blackberries without excessive hints of oak. Generous and smooth on the palate with soft, gentle and balanced tannins. Distinctive varietal notes meld together harmoniously with a long and wonderfully persistent finish.
Definitely on a top 10 list of Italian icons, Solaia affirms the massive potential of Italian winemaking, from vineyard to cantina to cellar and beyond. Superrich and polished, but never over the top, this gorgeous super Tuscan shows deep layers of chocolate, black cherry, rum cake and spice. The secret lies in its balance: Everything is in place, from intensity and complexity to persistency.
Wonderful pure Cabernet character, with currants, spices, flowers and violets. Velvety and fresh. Long and intense. Less austere than the 2007 with very sweet and ripe tannins. Such beauty. This is really powerful. Give it three to four years before trying a bottle.
The 2008 Solaia is richer and darker than the Tignanello, but it isn’t an appreciably more complex or complete wine. It shows gorgeous depth and textural richness to match an expressive core of blackberry jam, smoke, scorched earth, crushed rocks and cassis. This is a beautiful wine, but not as great as I had hoped. The 2008 Solaia is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 100% new oak. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
Lush, ripe and polished to a gleam, this red exhibits black cherry, plum and sweet spice flavors on a powerful frame. Balanced, with a chewy, spice- and violet-filled finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2020.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types...
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration...
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.