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Flat front label of wine

Grace Family Blank Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    It's not surprising that the wine made from Grace clone grapes grown at Chotsie and Alan Blank's 1.8 acre vineyard in Rutherford shows similarities of style to the wine made from our own vineyard in St. Helena. Smooth, firm tannins give an elegant supple texture that frames a graceful and harmonious whole. But Blank Vineyard's own unique terroir affords it a very unique personality as well. The wine serves up a beguiling array of wintergreen, herb and spice notes that point toward coffee and camphor in addition to ripe red fruit. Not really a sibling, but rather a cousin of the original Grace Family Cabernet.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Grace Family

    Grace Family

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    Grace Family, Napa Valley, California
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    After leaving the US Marine Corps in 1964, Dick Grace became a stockbroker in San Francisco while he and his wife, Ann, raised Kirk, Mark and Kim in the suburban comfort of Orinda. By the mid-seventies, when the children were teenagers, the idea of moving to the country was holding some allure, and a rundown Victorian that was just out of their price range became both their challenge and their haven. In today’s world full of boutique wineries it is hard to believe that the Napa Valley of 1976 really ever existed. At the time, it was just another agricultural region where prunes and walnuts were as viable a crop as grapes, and pig farms dotted the landscape.

    Planted with cuttings from the famous Bosché vineyard not far away, Grace Family vineyards started out as a family hobby. The first harvest was picked by family and friends in 1978 and taken to nearby Caymus Winery in the back of a station wagon. Charlie Wagner, the late Caymus patriarch, tasted a bunch of those first 1978 grapes and exclaimed, “You know, Dick, this is damned fine fruit!” And so one of the Napa Valley’s first vineyard designated wines came to be produced. Grace Family Vineyards was on its way.

    With interest in California wines blossoming, Grace Family Vineyards quickly became the first “cult” wine, which was just as much a surprise to Dick and Ann as to anyone else. That said, let’s not forget that Dick’s military experience, enhanced by a perfectionist attitude, ensured that no corners were cut. Even if this was to be just a hobby, it had to be done right. It was most fortuitous and serendipitous that the family had settled upon a micro-climate and soil eminently suitable to making stellar Cabernet.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    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.

    LSB116928_2002 Item# 116928