Alexander Valley Vineyards
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Held Back
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to Alexander Valley Vineyard to secure an allocation of their flagship Cyrus, a beautifully balanced Bordeaux-style blend.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Alexander Valley Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Cyrus
Winemaker: Kevin Hall
Backgrounder: 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, Merlot and, increasingly, Zinfandel.
Varietal Backgrounder: Bordeaux wines are usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. In France, perfection is achieved with the perfect balance of these grapes. Today’s 2006 Cyrus is a masterful blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 4% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark burgundy hues, with even coloration, from core to edge. Wine coats the glass with color when swirled. After a moment, this coating coalesces into tall columns of skinny, wine-colored legs that run slowly down the glass.
Smell – Warm and sweet, with spiced blackberry, black cherry and brambly boysenberry. As the wine opens up, soft leather, chocolate and dried cranberry mingle with soft dried meats, black pepper and a hint of fennel.
Feel – Plush and softly grippy, at first, bright flavors, spice and medium tannins all come together to make your mouth water. After a moment, the palate dries slightly, leaving behind a softly flinty feel.
Taste – Bright red and black fruit mingle with spice, toasted oak, earthy dried leaves and black pepper. Fruits consist of wild strawberry, blackberry, black cherry and black raspberry.
Finish – Very long and bright, with sustained fruit and spice. Earthen flavors are revealed as fruit tails off. Dried leaves, minerals and black pepper appear at the very end.
Conclusion – We’ve had the great pleasure to feature Alexander Valley Vineyards several times over the last four years. Always, we have loved AVVs fantastic wines. For today’s wine, we were given free access to their wines – and we went right for the top. Today’s 2006 Cyrus is AVVs flagship Bordeaaux-style blend and we are enamored with it. Bold, bright, spice and richly layered, today’s wine is delicious, complex and intriguing. With its bright and balanced flavors, this wine is an easy companion for a great meal. We paired ours with freshly grilled burgers with all the fixings. We give this wine a big Wine Spies recommendation.
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 Cyrus 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: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
KEVIN: 2006 Cyrus. A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot The 2006 exhibits lush aromas of black cherry, plum, vanilla and a touch of mint. This big structured wine offers flavors of blackberry, cocoa and some rich mocha. The concentration makes this a wine that could easily
cellar for up to 20 years.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KEVIN: Red wine and mushroom risotto.
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 which allows the grapes to ripen slowly.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KEVIN: Barreling down the new vintage.
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
Understanding exactly what qualities will be delivered from each vineyard is a key component to making great wine and a significant reason why CYRUS wins praise from critics year after year. For this latest release of our proprietary Bordeaux blend, Winemaker Kevin Hall selected fruit from seven different vineyards he determined were particularly exceptional in 2006.
But deciding which vineyards lots are the best was only the first step. Kevin also had to determine which Bordeaux varietals would best compliment the Cabernet Sauvignon that is the focal point for CYRUS and in what quantities. For the 2006, he blended in a sizeable amount of Cabernet Franc along with some Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Finally the wine was aged for a year in French and American oak. blended and then aged an additional year in French oak barrels.
The 2006 is a complex wine offering up flavors of blackberry and rich mocha. Taste this vintage of CYRUS and you’ll quickly understand why it is a top award winning wine and was rated a 92 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.