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Laurel Glen Sonoma Mountain Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
If 1998 was the year to try men's souls (and winemaking abilities), 1999 was the year to gladden our hearts. North, south, east, and west, from alicante bouschet to zinfandel, vintage 1999 produced splendid wines, and Sonoma Mountain was no exception. Although the crop was small, the quality was high: a long and even growing year, devoid of temperature extremes, and with a normal late-September harvest, produced beautiful ripening. 1999 Counterpoint Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon displays a dark, almost opaque core surrounded with an intense purple rim, which presages the deep black fruit/dusty cassis/mulberry nose. As with all Laurel Glen wines, from REDS to Laurel Glen itself, this Counterpoint is enlivened with a moderate natural acidity, which makes it delicious with food and which distinguishes it from so many of its jammy-fruited peers. The acid is balanced by the deep fruit core of the wine, which also lends a roundness to the fine tannins. The result is a well balanced, broad-shouldered wine, rounded and full of the typical Laurel Glen character. It should be pretty tasty with grilled meats and full-flavored foods.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.
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 profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.