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Grace Family Cabernet Sauvignon 1990

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • WS94
0% ABV
  • JS94
  • WS91
  • RP91
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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WS 94
Wine Spectator
Dark and maturing, with complex black cherry, coffee, wild berry, stewed plum, cedar and anise flavors that are concentrated and elegant. Finishes with mild but sufficient tannins. Drinks exceptionally well now.
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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 as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of 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 now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) 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 is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile 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 profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

LSB208662_1990 Item# 208662