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Meteor Vineyard Perseid Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Meteor started as a dream 35 years ago when Barry Schuler, a college student with an emerging passion for wine, first visited Napa Valley. After roaming the valley and tasting, he was struck by the burning desire to someday live in Napa, grow grapes and make wine that could take its place among the World’s greats.
At that time Napa itself was emerging as a truly World Class wine making region and winemakers Bill and Dawnine Dyer were launching their careers as the history of Napa wine was being written. Little did they know that more than three decades later they would all come together in a project centered on the fruit grown in one of Napa’s most unique pieces of land – Meteor Vineyard.
Barry and his wife Tracy bought the property that is now Meteor Vineyard in 1998 and hired legendary viticulturalist Mike Wolf to assess the potential of the property. Located on a knoll in Napa Valley’s Coombsville region, Mike quickly recognized that Meteor Vineyard’s unique combination of elevation, aspect and stony, rich volcanic soil was an optimal site for 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Planted in 1999 to 3 distinct clone and rootstock combinations, it was immediately clear that the Schuler’s had found something special.
By the time the vineyard was ready for it’s first harvest, prestigious names such as Etude, Vineyard 29, Arietta, Favia and Lail Vineyards were clamoring to work in the vineyard. In addition to the above, Mike introduced the Schuler’s to Bill and Dawnine Dyer. The rest, as the cliché says, is history. One of the very interesting things about selling fruit to multiple sources is to taste the individual renditions of the vineyard. While a common thread is obvious, the minute decisions made in the winery are always pronounced. The Dyer’s focus on elegance and balance immediately struck a chord. The seeds of a 100% Meteor Vineyard bottling were planted.
In 2003 the Dyers and the Schulers decided to produce a very small quantity of 100% Meteor Vineyard wine, to discover what a singular expression of the vineyard would be. The results were so impressive that they decided to make Barry’s 35 year old dream come true. In 2004 they bottled 40 cases for friends and family. The extraordinary quality of the 2005 vintage fruit solidified the vision and became the inaugural release from the winery.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
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.