2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Mount Veeder (Napa)
Riding the Ridge
Today’s 2004 Random Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious, boutique Cabernet Sauvignon that will appeal to anyone who enjoys (adores?!) mountain Cabernet. This wine shows intensity and concentration, without being overpowering. The wine shows beautifully for an ‘older’ Cabernet, but this age really contributes to its elegance.
Mt. Veeder, where today’s delectable Cabernet was born, is located on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas range. This AVA has a climate that is cooler than the valley floor below. This climate and the more difficult (less fertile) volcanic mountain soil influence the flavors of the wines from this region. Best known for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc, Mt. Veeder vineyards produce grapes of exceptional character and intensity.
Dark and dense purple with a translucent heart. Along the edges, the color shows hints of garnet and violet in the meniscus and when the wine is swirled, fat color-laden legs cling to the glass.
Bold in character and intensity with classic Cabernet aromas of dark fruit, boysenberry and plum that are framed with wild anise and black licorice. Notes of savory spice, oak and herbal components round out the nose.
Rich and bold black and red fruit, with cherry, red currant, plum and boysenberry are layered over soft oak (new and toasted) flavors. Add to this a healthy dose of wild anise, black licorice, wild bramble herbs and savory spice.
Extremely long, lasting several minutes. Cherry and other fruit flavors meld with oak, anise, herbs and spice that gracefully linger on the palate.
A pan-seared Ribeye, finished in a garlic and fresh thyme butter reduction.
What the Winery Says
This wine is Terroir-driven. Reflecting the vineyard’s unique place on earth, it is immense, persistent, complex, gracious, and generous.
The characteristics of the two Bordeaux varietals are well-integrated, creating a wine that is redolent of cherry, currant, cedar, plum, licorice, and chocolate. It is muscular, lively, and hedonistic. A dominant feature is the “garrique”, a word the French use to describe spicy flavors and aromas related to anise, lavender, and sage. With four years of bottle conditioning, this wine is good to go, but will also reward further cellaring.
On the edge of an ancient caldera on the western border of the Mount Veeder District, Random Ridge is a 47-acre ranch that straddles the Napa and Sonoma county line at an elevation of 2300 feet. Bill Hawley built the family home with recycled materials in 1980 and planted the first vines in the spring of 1982. The vineyard is currently 10 acres densely planted with a simple vertical trellis system, yielding roughly 1.5 tons per acre. The soil is decomposed volcanics, tuff, and solid rock.
- Bill Hawley
- Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, California
- Fruit Variety
- 90% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Cabernet Franc
- 18 months in 40% new oak
- Case Production
- Only 150 cases produced
About the Winery
Random Ridge produces fine wines from vineyards pioneered by the Hawley family in the Mayacamas mountains of Napa County, California. We produce wines in very limited quantities from vines meticulously maintained to reflect the essence of the soils in which they grow. We are farmers first but will surf anytime anywhere. Our dedication in the vineyards naturally segues into traditional winemaking practices in the cellar. We strive to enable the fruit to develop its inherent Buddha nature to become wine of complexity harmony & passion.
The vineyard’s intense fruit yields a limited production of exceptional wines that are spicy, extracted, and rich. As Bill Hawley says, they are “wines with alti-dude.”
Winemaker/poet/surfer Bill Hawley
Bill began to pioneer Random Ridge in 1980. At the end of a remote fire road at 2400 feet on California’s stunning Mount Veeder, he built a house for his young family with recycled lumber. The next year he cleared and planted a 10-acre vineyard right on the Napa-Sonoma County ridgeline. Today from the home and vineyard the views of Mount Tamalpais and the San Francisco Bay still dazzle the southern horizon and the sun sets over Sonoma Mountain.
From 1982 to 1988, Bill was employed at Carmenet Vineyard as vineyard manager, mentored by the late great Dick Graff. “…as part of my continuing education, Dick arranged for me to travel to Burgundy and Bordeaux for a month in 1986, visiting cutting-edge producers that shaped my wine aesthetic. Then in 1988 Susan and I traveled to New Zealand and I attended the Cool Climate Viticulture Conference, another mind-blowing trip.”
Bill credits his Chalone experience with introducing him to many winemakers that remain great friends.