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Linked Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (torn label) 2008
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Occupying a very interesting intersection between the valleys, and sitting just above the fogline, the property is a study in juxtaposition. Volcanic and loamy soils. Marine and mountain air. Wildlands and orderly vineyards. It is home to deer, wild turkeys and hawks, as well as three generations of Links.
Ken Link bought this property with the hope of creating a family legacy. So far, it’s working. His daughter Jessica was in college at the time he bought it. Realizing that no one in the family had any idea how to plant or manage a vineyard, let alone make wine, Jessica switched her major at Sonoma State to Wine Business. Ken and Jessica quickly enrolled in every viticulture class they could find, researched the characteristics of their special corner of Knight’s Valley and consulted experts in vine selection and planting. The west-facing slope with a view of the approaching fog from the Pacific turned out to be a perfect site for Cabernet. Planted in 2000, Linked Vineyards began to take shape.
A few years later, Jessica fell in love with Drew Johnson, a vineyard manager at Beringer. They were married under the spreading oaks and majestic madrones on the property. Now part of the Link family, Drew’s knowledgeable and steady hand has guided the development of the vineyard into one that is growing world-class fruit. Drew oftentimes goes to the vineyard as the sun is rising, before heading off to work. On weekends, Jessica and their kids, Nick and Shelby, join him to help tend the vines and share rides on the pooper scooper, spreading compost and manure in the vineyard.
After years of these family outings, the vines had matured and the grapes were showing the quality they wanted to produce their own wine in 2007. With a stroke of luck, Jessica and Drew connected with Luc Morlet, consulting winemaker at Peter Michael (an icon of Knight’s Valley Cabernet,) who was looking for grapes for his own family label, Morlet Family Vineyards. He was a perfect match for what they wanted to do, and was excited to make the wine. While the vineyard encompasses 16 acres, Drew and Luc identified a small 3 acre section in Shelby’s Block to pick the grapes for the Linked Vineyards Cabernet. This small plot is the steepest hill in the vineyard and is characterized by rocky volcanic soils that stress the vines, resulting in fewer but more intensely flavored grapes.
While the Linked Vineyards name clearly has ties to the family name, it means much more. It represents all the links that created the wine; the unique site, the family, the winemaker and all the friends who pitch in and support them. Jessica and Drew hand number each bottle, and record who acquires each one. So, you will always have a link to Linked Vineyards, and they to you.
A small and picturesque valley separating Napa Valley on its south border and Alexander Valley to its north, Knights Valley excels in similar varieties as the two aforementioned appellations, namely red Bordeaux varieties and blends, as well as Sauvignon blanc. Originally established by Beringer Vineyards, today several outstanding producers claim acreage here. The circadian cooling effects of the nearby Pacific Ocean create a nighttime respite for vineyards during the hot growing season.
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.