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Herb Lamb HL Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
"I"m looking for a wine that tastes like a fresh grape," he adds, "not a tannic, wood driven monster. This vintage is anything but tannic; it is very approachable, almost sexy, with great finesse and balance." Even with almost 90% new Taransaud and Nadalie French oak and over 14% alcohol, this wine is still elegant, fruit driven and forward without being one-dimensional.
"In the mouth, there is a taste of intense black fruits reflecting the hillside vineyard, with a touch of licorice, spice and cinnamon. I find the 2000 wines comparable to 1996, with a soft entry, concentrated elegance and great varietal character. Similarly, time in bottle will help the balance; already I can taste the silky qualities of this wine. Like the 1996 vintage, it should become even more balanced as it matures, so make sure to give it a few years in your cellar." And make sure to enjoy it with friends!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.