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St. Clement Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • WS88
0% ABV
  • WS90
  • RP87
  • WS88
  • RP90
  • RP89
  • CG88
  • WE90
  • WS90
  • W&S89
  • WS88
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine has a lighter red fruit character in the nose, more on the lines of raspberries and strawberries than blackberries, with a suggestion of cloves, violets and sweet candied flavors. There are hints of spice in the nose, with cedar, licorice, leather and red current. The 16 months in barrels imparts a toasted nut flavor to the wine, highlighting the spice and the touch of mint in the mouth. There is a slightly exotic, yet pretty flavor in this wine, with enough extraction of light fruits and a good acid balance to make this vintage attractive. This wine has a soft mouthfeel with elegant tannins, led by earthy and herbal flavors of dried herbs and spices lingering in the mouth. These earthy, almost mushroomy characteristics remind me of the rich juices in a pot-roast; this would be a great wine with lamb shanks or spicy pork roast, and is ready for immediate enjoyment.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 88
Wine Spectator
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St. Clement

St. Clement Vineyards

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St. Clement Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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This historic Napa winery was purchased by Beringer in 1999. Beringer Wine Estates also owns Meridian Vineyards, Chateau St. Jean, Napa Ridge, Chateau Souverain and Stags' Leap Winery. St. Clement Vineyards will continue to produce small lots of premium wines under the same winemaking staff, with the universal goal of producing the best wines possible from exceptional regional fruit.

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.

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.

OPI70264_1998 Item# 43084