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Etude Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
    0% ABV
    • RP90
    • JS92
    • WS90
    • RP89
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    Winemaker Notes

    The Etude Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is handcrafted from several unique vineyards representing the major benchland sub-appellations of Napa Valley — Rutherford, St. Helena, Oakville and Calistoga. By deliberately sourcing fruit from this range of exemplary sources, the assembled wine attains the important range of expression and nuance that gives this wine its depth of character.

    The blend for the 2003 bottling consists of Cabernet Sauvignon (97%) and Cabernet Franc (3%). The wine will spend a minimum of 24 months in French oak barrels (80% new). The components are aged separately for approximately 12 months, the assemblage is then crafted and the blend is returned to barrels for an additional year of aging before bottling.

    The hallmark of this wine is the purity of the fruit aromas. Classic black cherry and currants begin the nose and lead into layers of wild berry fruit, cassis and black licorice spice. On the palate the wine is rich and lush with good structure and sweet mouth-filling tannins. An opulent Cabernet Sauvignon with powerful structure and intensity that underscores why this varietal is one of the major pursuits at Etude.

    Critical Acclaim

    All Vintages
    Etude
    Etude, , California
    Etude
    The underlying philosophy at Etude Wines is that winemaking begins in the vineyard, long before the grapes are harvested. Winemaker, Jon Priest, believes that superior grape growing diminishes the need for intervention by the winemaker, resulting in authentic varietal expression.

    By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza is divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley—two sources of some of the country’s finest wines.

    For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec, originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s. Here it found success and renown it never could have achieved in its homeland due to its struggle to ripen fully in finicky climates. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and often blended with one another. The best white wines are made from Chardonnay, and there are excellent examples to be found as well from Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sémillon.

    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

    SLS5023803_2003 Item# 91571

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