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Robert Karl Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP88
14.3% ABV
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14.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2009 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit was sourced from Gunselman Bench, McKinley Springs and Phinny Hill vineyards resulting in a wine with intense flavors, beautiful color and excellent balance.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 88
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Starting off, sweet black raspberry, charred meat, vanilla and sweet oak all emerge from the glass of the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. A 100% Cabernet that spent 35 months in 75% new French oak, it is a medium-bodied, lively and lightly concentrated effort that has solid purity of fruit, good acidity and a clean finish. It has good character and will drink nicely for another 4-5 years. Drink now-2018.
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Robert Karl

Robert Karl

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Robert Karl, Columbia Valley, Washington
Robert Karl Cellars is a boutique, Spokane winery producing handcrafted, premium, Cabernet Sauvignon, Claret, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and a dry Cabernet Franc Rosé. The grapes are from Horse Heaven Hills, an American Viticultural Area (AVA) of the Columbia Valley in Washington State by physician winemaker, Joseph Gunselman.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!

Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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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 Washington, 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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secrets

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.

AIWRKCAB_2009 Item# 137256