Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
The 2016 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon has welcoming aromatics of dark fruit such as dark cherry, plum and blackberry. The aging of oak barrels imparts the touch of vanilla and cedar to round out this medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Two clones originating from pioneer Charles Wetmore’s 19th-century Bordeaux cuttings comprise this Cab, co-fermented with Petite Sirah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Welldrained rocky soils are home to these east-west–oriented estate vineyards, located in the southern hills of the valley. The perfume is exciting, with accents of candied cherries, heather, and roses. Round, sultry tannins have a backdrop of cedar, ripe blackberries, and violets. Juicy and delicious.
Wente Vineyards is the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, founded in 1883. Today, the winery maintains its leadership role in California winegrowing under ownership and management by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. Blending traditional and innovative winemaking practices, the winery draws from nearly 3,000 acres of certified sustainably farmed vineyards to create an outstanding portfolio of estate grown wines. Located just East of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California’s premier wine country destinations featuring wine tasting, The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, summer concert performances, and a Greg Norman designed golf course.
Today, Fifth Generation Winemaker Karl D. Wente carries on the family winemaking tradition. The Estate Grown wines are named after the unique growing conditions of the vineyards in which they are sourced. The Single Vineyard wines are named for the specific blocks in the premier estate vineyards located in the Livermore Valley and Arroyo Seco, Monterey regions.
A warm sub-appellation of the greater San Francisco Bay AVA (American Viticultural Area), Livermore Valley mainly hides behind the shielding effects of the bay’s eastern hills. However, late afternoon winds cool down summer nights as daytime heat rises from the Central Valley in the east, pulling the cold, foggy, bay air inland. This cooler evening air permeates the Livermore Valley's foothills, making this an ideal environment for the development of phenolic ripeness and concentration in its wine grapes.
The Livermore Valley is one of California's oldest wine regions and has played a crucial role in shaping California's wine industry. Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the Livermore Valley in the 1760s. Then in the mid 1800s, a man named Robert Livermore planted the area’s first commercial vineyards. Winemaker pioneer C. H. Wente arrived a few years later; today the Wente Chardonnay clone is the source of a majority of California Chardonnay. Furthermore, James Concannon and the Wetmore brothers recognized the virtues of the area’s Bordeaux-like gravel soils and dedicated themselves to making high quality wine from Bordeaux varieties. Today the area is also known for high quality Petite Sirah.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux where it forms the base of the Medoc reds. These blends 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 from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.
Tasting Notes for Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry red wine rich in color, tannin and extract. It expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In the Old World you'll often find the more earthy side of Cabernet. In warmer regions like California, Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more upfront fruit flavors.
Perfect Food Pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon
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 for Cabernet Sauvignon
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.