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Herb Lamb HL Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
    14.4% ABV
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    14.4% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The 2002 HL Cabernet Sauvignon speaks of the classic Herb Lamb Vineyards fruit – big, spicy, black fruits but with the vineyard's finesse and balance. Winemaker Mike Trujillo calls this wine "a very forward wine from a serious and classic vintage, big and bold, but with great balance, still showing soft, tame tannins that make it very drinkable in its youth. This wine reminds me of the 1994 vintage, but with more complexity – rich, velvety, silky, with lots of finesse."

    This Cabernet Sauvignon is both chewy and juicy, showing spicy cocoa and really ripe black fruits with a touch of rich black espresso and opulent dark chocolate in the mouth. This wine ages as it opens up in the glass, softening to show great finesse and balance, and should do nothing but develop further in the bottle.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Herb Lamb

    Herb Lamb

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    Herb Lamb, Napa Valley, California
    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 as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, 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 1980's, 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 is 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.

    KHKHERBAMB_2003 Item# 122493