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Brookdale Vineyards 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

Brookdale Vineyards 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

What We Say 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Mission Codename: Hunt for October Red

Operative: Agent Zin

Objective: Beat Agent Red in a quest to find the perfect Napa Cabernet for under $40

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Brookdale Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Craig MacLean


Agent Zin, tired of being handed “lesser assignments”, challenged Agent Red to a duel of sorts. Zin proclaimed that he could find a Napa Cabernet that drank like wines costing twice as much. Agent Red accepted the challenge and both agents were given just 4 hours to bring back a single specimen for approval. Read Agent Zin’s mission notes below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – A deep and dark ruby red in color that you can’t see your fingers through. Beautiful iridescence and clarity at the edges

Smell – Blackberries and other dark fruit mixed with earthy and vegital tones and vanilla

Feel – Starts off strong like great Napa cabs, but goes down with good complexity with equal measures of soft fruit and firm tannins

Taste – Chocolate covered cherries, and even a little blackberry and cocoa. Fruity? Yes! But, not a complete “fruit bomb” of a wine

Finish – Like most great Cabernet Sauvignons of the world this wine is smooth and shows balance in both fruit and tannins. This wine finishes long but not too dry.

Conclusion – Napa is perhaps the greatest producers of Cabernets in the world and Brookdale’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a great and elegant standout, even by Napa’s tough standards. In a blind test with other Agents, this wine was chosen over wines costing far more.

Mission Brief:

Agent Zin reporting

Agent Red seems to get all of the choice assignments. This sometimes makes me and the other agents a little cranky. Today I get my revenge by bringing your a big, juicy, balance, delicious and wonderful Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – for under $40!

This mission started with my challenge to Agent Red after he was boasting about his own wine-sleuthing prowess. He was bragging about an excellent Monterey County Syrah that he had procured for our Operatives and about the leisurely barrel tasting and vineyard tour that ensured during his mission.

This bragging session came after one particularly difficult day of winery recon in the sweltering heat of Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. As lovely a place as it was, I was tired and, quite frankly, a little fed up with all of Red’s braggadocio.

Then and there I challenged him to a wine-finding duel; Scour the Napa Valley and return with the better Cabernet Sauvignon – for less than $40 – and in less than 4 hours. He smugly accepted and then dashed off to his car. As he climbed into his spy car he cast me a worried glance. I just stood there looking relaxed and smugly confident. His look became even more worried.

After Red sped off, I walked casually over to my spy car, opened my trunk, and pulled out a very special wine that I had spied previously. I knew that this 2003 Brookdale Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon would beat whatever he could bring back on such short notice, regardless of his skills.

This wine took me some time to find, and after a careful comparison against Napa Cabs in the price range, this wine won me over easily. Its bold, but balanced. Fruit-forward, but not overly so. This is a wine of refinement, character and style.

All the agents at Central Command loved it and declared it a winner, even without tasting Agent Red’s find.

At 3 hours and 50 minutes, I called Agent Red. No answer so I left him a simple message, “You can come back to Central Command now. I already found the winner. and, don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone that I beat you. Not so much, anyway!”

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Brookdale Three Daisies Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo

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What the Winery Says Brookdale Vineyards

Brookdale Vineyards
Brookdale Vineyards


April 01, 2007
2003 Rating – Wine Enthusiast
Wine Enthusiast Rates 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon 92 Points!

January 11, 2007
2003 Rating – Beverage Testing Institute
Beverage Testing Institute Rates 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon 92 Points!

Winemaker Notes:

This wine color is a deep ruby-red hue, which is saturated to the rim. The flavors consist of red and black cherries, violets, anise, cola nut, cedar and toasty oak – YUM!

It has full entry with firm, yet round and balanced tannins that support the middle palate and finish. The acidity enlivens the wine which makes it an excellent match for food.

This wine will age nicely for 8-10 years.


Brookdale Vineyards was founded in 2000, with its first release in the fall of 2002. This limited production wine is made with fruit hand-selected from some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyard sites. Annual production is approximately 500 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Detailed Wine Information:

Alcohol: 14.6%

Appellation: Napa Valley

Oak: French Oak

Varietal: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot

Year: 2003

Brookdale Vineyards 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml Wine Bottle
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