Alexander Valley Vineyards
2006 Alexander School Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Alexander Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Summer School
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Send Agent Red back to Alexander Valley Vineyard to secure a limited-quantity Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Alexander Valley Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Alexander School Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Kevin Hall
Alexander Valley in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but recently people are starting to discover its Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Chardonnay as well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark garnet and purple with a dense nearly opaque core that only lets hints of light shine though. Garnet along the edges and when swirled, clusters of thin legs broaden as they descend to the wine below.
Smell – Rich and bold with aromas of ripe black cherry, plum and blackberry mingle with earthy and brown spice notes. Spicy black pepper, green bell pepper, mocha and green herbs adds complexity and are all framed by a sturdy toasted oak component.
Feel – Very smooth on the initial attack, then at mid palate the firm, grippy and finely grained tannins, balanced acidity and mouth drying minerality hits with a warm wave that lingers into the finish.
Taste – Slightly restrained earthy black cherry, brambly blackberry and dark plum flavors blend with a generous toasted oak and both brown-baking and black pepper spice. A touch of green bell pepper, bitter-sweet chocolate and green herbs.
Finish – Long, smooth and clean, with this wine’s sturdy structure drying the palate cleanly as hints of the oak linger past the fruit for a minute or more.
Conclusion – The 2006 Alexander Valley Vineyards Alexander School Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a lovely Alexander Valley Cab that is both sturdy and smooth with generous nose and long mouth watering finish. Enjoy this wine now (let breathe for at least 30 minutes) or cellar for the next five to seven years. This wine’s warm and dry texture makes it a great wine to pair with grilled red meat.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Alexander Valley Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo</A
SUBJECT: Kevin Hall
WINE EDUCATION: I have a Master’s Degree in Enology from the University of California at Davis.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: 13 years at AVV, 3 years at Sebastiani
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Be passionate about wine and never take short cuts
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Don’t screw up the fruit.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1998, Pinot noir
AGENT RED: Greetings, Kevin Hall. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Alexander School Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
KEVIN HALL: I am always happy to be here, Red
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
KEVIN: My wife’s family was involved in the wine industry and it was a way to get closer to her.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
KEVIN: I worked for a winemaker in New Zealand named Rod McDonald. His passion for wine was contagious.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
KEVIN: For our wine-loving customers
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Alexander Valley so special?
KEVIN: The Alexander valley has extremely diverse soil types and the climate is a blend of coastal and inland influences. We can have temperature shifts of 50 degrees in the growing season wheich allows the grapes to ripen slowly.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
KEVIN: Have fun and enjoy.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Alexander Valley Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
One of California’s Best Cabernets – Five Stars – Decanter Magazine
Best of Show – Gold Medal – 2010 Hilton Head International Wine Competition
About This Wine:
The accolades keep pouring in for this wine. First, Decanter Magazine gave it 5 Stars, rating it one of the top two California Cabernets from the 2006 vintage. Then the wine won “Best of Show Red” at the Hilton Head International Wine Competition.
Getting great fruit, of course, makes the job of creating a great wine so much easier. The fruit for the 2006 Alexander School Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon came from the 5-acre Cooney Vineyard, the source of some of the best Cabernet in the valley. After nearly two weeks of fermentation, the wine was aged for 17 months in 100% new French oak.
The 2006 Alexander School Reserve Cab exhibits a very expressive nose of dark cherries and plums. In the glass, this wine is seamless. While the flavors of black cherry and cassis are pronounced and the tannins gib, all the elements are well-knitted, making for a very rounded wine.
About The Winery:
Welcome to our family-owned wine estate, once the original homestead of Cyrus Alexander, the namesake of this prominent viticultural appellation, Alexander Valley. We purchased the land from the Alexander’s heirs in 1962, planted vineyards, and in 1975 built our winery. Here we grow grapes and produce delicious wines that complement food and enrich your dining experience.
Alexander Valley Vineyards is located on Highway 128 in northern Sonoma County, just 75 miles north of San Francisco, 6 miles from the sleepy town of Healdsburg and 16 miles from Calistoga in the Napa Valley.
Visit our historic property, taste our award-winning wines including our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and our renowned Sin Zin, bring a picnic and enjoy beautiful vistas of our peaceful, rural valley. Our winery tasting room is open daily, 10am to 5pm.
About The Winemaker:
Kevin Hall has studied wine and winemaking techniques across the globe, but the AVV winemaker says his philosophy has always been to respect the inherent qualities of the estate grapes right at his doorstep. “I get beautiful fruit from here on the property,” he says, “and my main focus is to preserve the flavor of the varietal and the terroir.”
Kevin, who has a Masters of Science in Enology from the University of California–Davis, joined the winemaking staff at AVV in 1998. Before that, he spent a year exploring the world’s major wine regions with his wife Paula. “My wife’s family is from the Mosel region of Germany,” he says. “Her grandparents made wine and sold it to their village cooperative.” The pair worked at wineries in Bingen, Germany and Hastings, New Zealand. Between assignments, while traveling through Italy, Spain and all the major wine regions of France and Australia, they talked to as many winemakers as they could, learning key techniques that other winemakers used to produce their best wines.
Under his direction, Alexander Valley Vineyards has won numerous prestigious awards including Best of Show at both the Atlanta International Wine Competition and the Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition, Best Red Wine at the Eastern International Wine Competition and the Florida State Fair and Best Bordeaux Blend at the California State Fair.
Appellation: Alexander Valley
Grape Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Barrel Regimen: Nearly a year and a half in 100% new French oak