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Flat front label of wine

Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
  • WE90
0% ABV
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • CG91
  • RP90
  • WS90
  • WE94
  • WE90
  • WE91
  • WE90
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Winemaker Notes

A great deal on one of the last 1997 California Cabernets! The wine has aromas of blackberry, black cherry, clove, and ripe plum, overlaid with spicy oak and the peppered earthiness that is an essence of the Chalk Hill appellation. Flavors are complementary, and mid-palate sweetness yields gracefully to firm, broad tannins in the finish. The wine required no fining or filtration, indicative of the innate structure and balance of the final blend.

The warm 1997 vintage provided an ideal ripening environment for our old vine Cabernet at Chalk Hill. The majority of the fruit was harvested during the first two weeks of October after a lengthy, steady ripening season interrupted only briefly by August El Niño rains. Clusters were large but berries small, resulting in reasonable vineyard yields and concentrated flavors, an optimal combination which characterized the vintage as a whole.

Traditional techniques, including native yeast fermentations, ageing in French oak, malolactic in barrel, blending with small amounts of other Bordeaux varieties, and quarterly rackings, revealed the quintessential characters of Chalk Hill Cabernet.

"Ruby-red. Highly aromatic, fruity aromas of red- and blackcurrant, tobacco, leather, gunflint and graphite, along with floral and minty nuances. Big, lush and fruity; flavors are a bit cooler than those of the '96. Finishes with very suave, harmonious tannins and impressive persistence. A strong showing for these vintages."
-International Wine Cellar

Critical Acclaim

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WE 90
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Chalk Hill

Chalk Hill Winery

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Chalk Hill Winery, Sonoma County, California
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Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery was purchased recently by Bill Foley, proprietor of Foley Family Wines, who will continue the time-honored traditions that Fred Furth began. Founded in 1972 by Fred Furth, the Chalk Hill Estate encompasses 280 acres of carefully positioned vineyards, including the valley floor, hillsides, and ridge tops of a 1300 acre estate. Perpetuating the time-honored traditions of the first land grant pioneers, the Chalk Hill Estate operates as a family farm with the daily tasks of sustainable viticulture flowing seamlessly through the growing season and ultimately to estate bottled wines. Chalk Hill is the only 100% estate winery in the Chalk Hill AVA nestled within the Russian River Valley. The passion for meticulous viticulture has resulted in elegant, world-class wines.

Sonoma County

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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.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secrets

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.

LIM1231107_1997 Item# 19448