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Herb Lamb E II Proprietary Red Blend 2002

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
    14.2% ABV
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    14.2% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    "The 2002 vintage is a very serious and classic vintage; forward, yet with tame tannins and in general reminds me of the 1994 vintage, but richer, more velvety and silky and with more complexity," says winemaker Michael Trujillo. Like many other growers, our crop levels decreased more than 30% from the abundant 2001 vintage, but quality remained outstanding with rich, concentrated, ripe-fruit flavors and smooth tannins. "There were no orphans in this vintage... no wines that didn't fit in nicely to this blend."

    In the nose, there's bramble and black olive and an herbal/red fruit character that rolls into caramel with a hint of the typical HL black licorice after the wine opens up. "But it's a very pleasant wine and none of the herbal, youthful nose carries into the palate. The field blend of varietals gives the E II softer tannins than the signature HL, and highlights the red fruit flavors; red raspberry and cherry. It has a bold, ripe Merlot character, with Cabernet Sauvignon length. There's a definite creaminess to this wine, and a little spice that rolls off into caramel after the youth shakes off."

    Critical Acclaim

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    Herb Lamb

    Herb Lamb

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    Herb Lamb, Napa Valley, California
    2002 E II Proprietary Red Blend
    The seven acre Herb Lamb Vineyard is located on the ridge of a small valley facing Howell Mountain, just east of St. Helena in the northern Napa Valley. This valley opens on the west directly towards Calistoga and pulls weather from the North Bay marine climate, offering cooling evening fog and morning breezes.

    Michael Trujillo, as Director of Winemaking for Sequoia Grove, was one of the first winemakers to create a wine from the young vines at Herb Lamb Vineyard in 1991. Seeing the great potential of the Lamb's hillside vineyard, he has been purchasing grapes for his own label, Karl Lawrence, from the Herb Lamb Vineyards ever since.

    When Jennifer and Herb Lamb chose to create their own wines with the 1997 vintage, reflecting on Michael's knowledge of the vineyards and his expert ability to craft a notable wine, he became their first choice to create the HL Vineyards wine. With the addition of the "Companion" labels, the E II and Two Old Dogs Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael is now director of winemaking for all the Herb Lamb Vineyards brands.

    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.

    Bordeaux Blends

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    One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

    In the Glass

    Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

    Perfect Pairings

    Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

    Sommelier Secret

    While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

    KHKHERBEII_2002 Item# 122494

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