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Lake Sonoma Winery Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
This rich Cabernet is the ideal partner for grilled and roasted meats or for savory mushroom dishes.
Lake Sonoma Winery focuses on the individual appellations in Northern Sonoma County where California’s top grape varieties achieve their ultimate expression of character. Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc come from Dry Creek Valley, where gravelly soils and a climate of warm days and cool nights produce intense fruit and impressive balance. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are grown in the very cool, often foggy Russian River Valley, where they develop rich, crisp character. Cabernet Sauvignon is drawn from Alexander Valley, where fertile soils and very warm climate result in mouthfilling character and smooth texture. The intrinsic excellence of these regions is enhanced by sustainable farming techniques in the vineyards, which uses natural amendments and controls to enrich the soil and combat pests.
To preserve and complement the extraordinary character of these grapes, Lake Sonoma Winery meticulously handcrafts each wine. Vineyard lots are kept separate until blending and aging in small oak barrels is tailored to each individual wine. Lake Sonoma Winery produces less than 25,000 cases annually, but every Lake Sonoma wine – through its bold flavors and intriguing complexity - makes a statement.
A source of Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon that can rival its Napa Valley neighbors, the Alexander Valley is the hottest AVA in the county. This large and heavily planted appellation is only 25 miles from the coast, but it is relatively free of fog due to the sheltering effects of the mountain ranges in between. However, the Russian River, which runs through the valley, creates cool-climate pockets and soft, alluvial soil ideal for grape-growing.
In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up over 50% of plantings, Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties as well as Zinfandel thrive here, all of which take on a bold and voluptuous personality. Ample, fleshy Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate white wine production. Some old-vine plantings of Grenache have been discovered here, and more recent experiments with Sangiovese and Barbera show great promise.
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.