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Sawyer Cellars Estate Bradford Meritage 2006

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • WE90
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Winemaker Notes

The 2006 Estate Bradford Meritage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, all grown on the estate vineyards in Rutherford. A wine distinctive from both our Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it shows aromas of black licorice and blackberry on the nose, with additional cherry, mocha, and coco flavors present on the palate. Twenty-four months of barrel aging in French oak have helped produce a flavorful, full-bodied wine with balanced tannins for a long, lingering finish. The Bradford Meritage drinks beautifully now, and should continue to age well for an additional seven to nine years.

Critical Acclaim

WE 90
Wine Enthusiast

Here's a balanced, young Cab-based Bordeaux blend. It's juicy in tutti-frutti Lifesaver candy flavors of blackberries, cherries and raspberries, yet is quite dry, and the acid-tannin structure gives it an elegant framework. Seems best now for its youthful pizzazz.

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Sawyer Cellars

Sawyer Cellars

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Sawyer Cellars, , California
Sawyer Cellars
In the heart of Napa Valley exists a charming, family-owned winery and estate dating back to the early 1930's. Sawyer Cellars is dedicated to making premium Estate wines, and sharing their unforgettable winery with their guests.

Here's what they like share about their wines: Our wines reflect the unique characteristics of each vintage and of the Rutherford growing district. It begins in the vineyard---as we use only a small percentage of the grapes grown on our estate, the fruit that is perfect to the eye and loaded with flavor. We hire harvest crews chosen for their selective picking techniques, and then we hand sort to insure we are using nothing but the finest fruit. Using gentle, gravity-fed systems in the winery, a judicious use of oak barrel aging in the finest French oak, and daily attention to the wines during aging, we produce the finest wines possible in small, select quantities.

Napa Valley

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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.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

YNG857825_2006 Item# 119271

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