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Herb Lamb HL Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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Winemaker Notes

The 2005 HL Cabernet Sauvignon shows intense dark color – one of the darkest we've ever produced. Initially a little closed on the nose, yet with aeration the wine unleashes deep black cherry, currents, coffee, mocha, and black licorice aromas typical of our wines. This vintage also shows a little pencil lead and minerality, with classic current and cassis in the nose.

Winemaker Michael Trujillo suggests that "by the fall of this year, and even as the wine evolves in the glass, the 2005 HL Cabernet Sauvignon should relax and open up a little and the "wow" of this juicy wine will become more apparent. In the palate there is a terrific focus of rich bright fruits and a wonderful structure. On the one hand this wine has lots of depth and is almost muscular, but on the other it is delicate yet lush with loads of bright red fruits."

Critical Acclaim

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Herb Lamb

Herb Lamb

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Herb Lamb, , California
Herb Lamb
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.

South Africa

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An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance, South Africa has a surprisingly long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

South Africa’s wine regions are divided into region, then smaller districts, and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.

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.

KHKHLCAB_2005 Item# 122569

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