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Sagelands Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
The grapes used to make Sagelands Vineyard wines are regional expressions of vineyards within the Columbia Valley appellation. We are developing key growing areas of this appellation to produce wines with distinct flavors. We call these areas the "Four Corners." They are: Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, Walla Walla Valley and Rattlesnake Hills/Ahtanum Ridge. The grapes for the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon were from the Horse Heaven Hills and Rattlesnake Hills/Ahtanum Ridge areas.
Because we blend all five of the traditional Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) into our Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine has many layers of aroma and flavor. The Cabernet Sauvignon gives the wine rich black cherry and black currant (cassis) fruit. The flavors are dark fruit and appealing tart cherry combined with chocolate and roasted coffee. The Merlot contributes livelier raspberry aromas and flavors and softens the tannins brought by the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Franc portion of the blend adds a floral note to the aromas and a light touch of dried herbs. Cabernet Franc further balances and softens the wine on the palate.
Even though the percentages of Malbec and Petit Verdot are small, the intensity of these varietals contribute to the wine. Our Malbec is sweet and soft, with ripe plum aromas. Adding Petit Verdot is like adding blueberry concentrate, incredibly intense, with nice acidity to give the wine a refreshing crispness on the finish. The new American oak gives the wine a sweet-vanilla oak component, toastiness and further enhances the chocolate and coffee notes of the Cabernet Sauvignon.
The summation of these different components is a wine with aromas and flavors of Bing and black cherry, cocoa, coffee and toasty oak. Fine tannins, richness of body and the tart cherry undertones make this Sagelands Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon a great match with grilled beef, pork tenderloin or robust meat dishes in reduction sauces. It also goes well with smoked Gouda cheese and simple pastas.
Kevin Mott, Winemaker
Each vineyard lot has a character and personality all its own. Following crush, fermentation and aging in small oak barrels, Sagelands Vineyard’s winemaker brings these lots together in artful blends that surpass their individual components in richness, complexity and balance.
Situated at the western gateway to Yakima Valley’s wine country, the Sagelands Vineyard tasting room presents both exciting wines and inspiring views of the Valley and Mt. Adams.
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.
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.