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Tenor Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP90
15.3% ABV
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15.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

With its well known potential for rich, dark-fruited aromatics and powerful palate presence, Cabernet Sauvignon is a variety that allows a tremendous amount of stylistic influence. Our Cabernet is an almost perfect blend of both the ripe and more forward styles of Cab and the fresher, more structured wines of the Old World.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Sourced from a biodynamically farmed portion of Hedges Estate on Red Mountain plus Lawrence and Stillwater Creek on the Royal Slope, Tenor’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted with the ambitious intention of “develop(ing) nicely over the next 16 to 18 years” and one thing that can be said for sure is it’s possessed of abundant tannins finer in grain than the corresponding Malbec. At the same time, Morell sees it as the most generous of his reds in its youth, and that was indeed (happily) the case on this occasion. Scents of cassis, dark cherry, bittersweet floral perfume, and a hint of band-aid as well as a stony undertone on the wine’s dense palate all put me a bit in mind of Bordeaux. Notes of toast and vanilla from all-new barrel (where this spent 21 months, the longest Morell says he will permit) largely back-off after the initial whiff to let considerable floral, mineral and fruit nuances come through in a persistent if still firmly tannic finish. This benefitted from exposure to air and I regret that it was logistically impossible for me to follow it for a genuinely extended period.
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Tenor
Tenor, Columbia Valley, Washington
The drive at Tenor is to make world-class wine from the vineyards in Washington. Tenor is very unique. As every wine lover knows, due to the weather of a certain growing year, different vintages produce different classes of wine. At Tenor, they only release a wine when we feel it is world-class. What does this mean? This means, if you were to line up the greatest Merlot's (for example) from 2008, Tenor would be among that list. To this end, they will declassify any wine that they don't feel meets that criteria. For this reason, no two vintage releases will see the same line up of wines, because no two years growing seasons are the same. In 2007, it was Merlot and Malbec. In 2008, it is Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah. This type of standard instills a trust in their label; that what they choose to put it in a Tenor bottle is world-class.

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 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.

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 profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

WWH128389_2009 Item# 146088