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Sbragia Rancho del Oso Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
  • RP94
14.8% ABV
  • WE93
  • RP91
  • WE95
  • RP90
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14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Full of power and grace, this wine leaps from the glass with ripe black fruit aromas – cherries, berries, plums – that dance across the palate at first sip. There's a chocolate note to the wine as well, and the overall first impression is of maraschino cherries rolled in cocoa powder. Supple and juicy, the wine's fine tannins and lively acidity provide structure. The Cabernet Franc, as well as oak-derived notes of spice and vanilla, add to the layered complexity and length of the wine.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
From Howell Mountain, the dense purple-colored 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Rancho del Oso (an 1,800 foot elevation vineyard) is composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. Sweet blackberry, black cherry, plum, anise and crushed rock aromas jump from the glass of this opaque purple-colored wine. Broad and full-bodied on the palate with hints of white chocolate and subtle oak/toast, it reveals terrific fruit, texture and opulence. Drink it over the next 20-25 years.
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Sbragia

Sbragia Family Vineyards

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Sbragia Family Vineyards, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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As the master winemaker at the famed Beringer winery in Napa for over 32 years, Ed Sbragia has made wine from every great vineyard in Northern California. Sbragia Family Vineyards is a dream Ed has had for many years, a small, family-owned winery making limited lots of wine from blocks of his favorite grapes, including his family's own Dry Creek vineyards. With his son Adam, Ed also focuses on extremely small production wines from spectacular sites, such as this 2005 Rancho Del Oso Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Howell Mountain

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Today Cabernet Sauvignon is the star of this part of Napa’s rugged, eastern hills, but Zinfandel was responsible for giving the Howell Mountain growing area its original fame in the late 1800s.

Winemaking in Howell Mountain was abandoned during Prohibition, and wasn’t reawakened until the arrival of Randy Dunn, a talented winemaker famous for the success of Caymus in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early eighties, he set his sights on the Napa hills and subsequently astonished the wine world with a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Shortly thereafter Howell Mountain became officially recognized as the first sub-region of Napa Valley (1983).

With vineyards at 1,400 to 2,000 feet in elevation, they predominantly sit above the fog line but the days in Howell Mountain remain cooler than those in the heart of the valley, giving the grapes a bit more time on the vine.

The Howell Mountain AVA includes 1,000 acres of vineyards interspersed by forestlands in the Vaca Mountains. The soils, shallow and infertile with good drainage, are volcanic ash and red clay and produce highly concentrated berries with thick skins. The resulting wines are full of structure and potential to age.

Today Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah thrive in this sub-appellation, as well as its founding variety, Zinfandel.

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 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.

KOE108260_2007 Item# 108260