2005 Winemaker's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s delicious Cabernet Sauvignon is sold out at the winery – but we’ve raided their archives, and have managed to get our hands on the last remaining bottles. Today only you can secure you very own allocation of this superb wine, at a great price, exclusively through The Wine Spies.
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Mission Codename: King Killian
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Chateau Souverain and secure an allocation of their flagship Cabernet, the gorgeous 2005 Winemaker’s Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that is totally sold out at the winery.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Chateau Souverain
Wine Subject: 2005 Alexander Valley Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Ed Killian
Today’s wine is made from choice vineyard sources that were hand-selected by master winemaker, Ed Killian. Mister Killian sought out the finest lots of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from his best vineyard sources, in order to craft today’s extraordinary wine.
The Alexander Valley, where today’s wine hails from, , is located in northeast Sonoma County, on the western side of the Mayacamas range. It 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, dark garnet with a dense, darker heart. The color retains even concentration, right out to the very edge of the glass. After swirling, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind tall, thin, wine-stained tears that move slowly down the glass.
Smell – Lush and very aromatic, this wine leads with bold blackberry, candied dark cherry, cassis and dark chocolate. As the wine opens, it reveals additional aromas of boysenberry, blueberry, subtle cigar box, tobacco leaf, with hints of star anise, soft spice and black tea leaf.
Feel – A plush medium body is evident immediately. As the wine crosses the mid-palate, medium-fine tannins and a balanced acidity add a terrific intrigue as they do their part to drive dark flavors to the corners of the mouth.
Taste – Richly layered, leading with bold black cherry, overripe blackberry and dark plum. These are layered over sweet green tobacco leaf, brown spice, cigar box, cocoa dust and dried fall leaves.
Finish – Sweet and then tart as fruit flavors eventually morph into more earthen flavors. The finish goes way long, and eventually fruit and earthen character are replaced by mineral-laden dark spice, black pepper and flinty minerals. At the very end, a dry and slightly chewy feel persists for a long time.
Conclusion – A truly fantastic wine, the 2005 Chateau Souverain Winemaker’s Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the sort of well-rounded gem that has something for any Cabernet fan; Dark, rich and bold fruit are tempered against softly earthen characteristics that add complexity and balance. This wine is ready to drink, now, and it will continue to improve for at least 7 more years. I know that we’ll be stashing some in our Top Secret wine cave. Pair this food-fantastic wine with a hearty red meat dish, lamb or a spicy grilled chicken. We’ll enjoy a bottle, all on its own, at our next gathering.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This Cabernet Sauvignon has a plush entry and opens with classic aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, bittersweet chocolate. Hints of floral, roasted coffee and baking spice carry over to the palate and meld with the wild blackberry and cassis flavors for which Alexander Valley is known. Extended aging in superbly coopered new barrels has integrated the fine grained tannins and created layers of cedar, espresso, and tobacco. This well-structured Cabernet has incredible fruit density and balance and will age well over the next 10 years, but has plenty of accessible ripeness to enjoy upon release.
Winemaker Ed Killian personally selects all of the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard lots chosen for this flagship wine. Most of the grapes were sourced from our 120-year-old Alexander Valley estate as well as select hillside vineyards. These vineyards are located on an inland expanse of the Russian River that channels early evening breezes to cool the valley’s warm afternoons. The moderated warm climate, as well as the volcanic and alluvial soils of the valley, allows the grapes to ripen evenly and retain their balanced acidity.
The 2005 vintage will best be known for its vigor due to an extended growing season brought on by a mild, temperate summer and fall. The season got off to a rainy start, and May was the wettest in over one hundred years. With a cool start to June, July was summer-like but lacked heat spikes. As a result, the grapes enjoyed extended hang time, allowing the fruit to fully mature delivering ripe, delicious flavors. Harvest was late but very compressed, avoiding late fall rainstorms.
Winemaking: All of the Cabernet Sauvignon lots were vinified and aged separately. This allows Ed Killian to tailor the fermentation and aging process to best fit each vineyard’s individual characteristics. The 2005 vintage was aged for 28 months in new oak barrels (85% European, 15% American), allowing the black cherry and blackberry flavors to better integrate with the extracted mouth-coating tannins. The combination of French, Hungarian and American oak adds to the depth and complexity of this reserve wine, with each component bringing a different aromatic or spiciness to the nose. Individual lots are finally chosen for blending to the reserve, and trial blends are made to find the best balance of each vineyard lot which will compose an exemplary and age worthy Alexander Valley Cabernet. The wine spent an additional 9 to 12 months in bottle before release.
About The Winery:
Authentic – Wines that are the best expression of each varietal and Alexander Valley
Attainable – Exceptional wines that you can drink every day
Award Winning – A sixty-year history of unsurpassed wine quality as noted by the wine press
At Souverain, our goal is to make authentic wines that are the best expression of each varietal and Alexander Valley. We believe our consumers deserve to drink great wine every night, so our wines are exceptional & attainable. Our love affair with producing wines has stretched back over 60 years and during that time our award winning wines have received numerous accolades and praise from the wine press.
In the end, though, the most important award to us is a satisfied consumer.
Having worked with the same growing areas – and in some cases the same vineyards – for more than 25 years, Ed Killian knows the vineyards of Alexander Valley inside and out. He understands which blocks will give him the fruit he’s looking for to create Souverain’s signature style. He believes the most important part of winemaking is learning the characteristics and tendencies of the vineyards.
Ed joined Souverain winery as associate winemaker in 1992 from Lambert Bridge Winery in Dry Creek Valley. In his role as associate winemaker, Ed had a strong hand in every aspect of winemaking at Souverain, and was named winemaker in May of 1996. As winemaker, Ed views his role as the steward of the Souverain name and historical legacy. He uses his expertise to craft Alexander Valley wines on which he’s proud to put the Souverain name.
Souverain has such an incredible history of making distinct wines, and I constantly work to carry on that legacy and tradition, says Ed Killian. The beautiful, concentrated fruit of our 120-year-old Alexander Valley Estate Vineyards contributes to this, as do our cellar techniques and our new state-of-the-art winemaking facility. My mission is to continue to craft wines that represent the best of Alexander Valley.
Ed serves on the Board of the Alexander Valley Winegrowers, and is a member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and the California Enological Research Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Redlands and a master’s in enology at the University of California at Davis. Upon graduation Ed worked as a research enologist for Guild Wineries before joining Lambert Bridge in 1981.
He and his wife, Jean – both native Californians – have lived in Healdsburg since 1981. When Ed is not making wine, he is an avid home brewer and also enjoys cooking, scuba diving and gardening
The history of Souverain began in the Napa Valley in 1944 when J. Leland “Lee” Stewart harvested his first crop of wine grapes from his Howell Mountain property in the northern part of the valley.
At the suggestion of his young daughter, Stewart named his winery “Souverain” (taken from the French word for “sovereign” or “supreme”), and his Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings from the 1960s were considered by many to be just that.
In the years that followed, Stewart used innovation and a natural gift for winemaking to establish Souverain as one of the great California wineries.
The winery moved to the Alexander Valley when Stewart eventually sold it in 1973. Stewart stayed on as a consultant throughout the construction of the new facility. In 1976, a limited partnership of growers took control and by 1981, Stewart had fully retired from winemaking.
Beringer winery bought Souverain in 1986 and added the word Chateau to the Souverain brand name. In 1992, Ed Killian was hired on as Associate Winemaker and by 1996 he was the head Winemaker.
In 2006, Souverain built a state-of-the-art winemaking facility surrounded by the 120-year-old Souverain Estate Vineyards in the Alexander Valley, near Cloverdale, where Winemaker Ed Killian has long been sourcing the grapes for his award-winning Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.
While the name, faces and location of the winery have changed over the years, the tradition of fine wine production continues at Souverain today. Just as Lee Stewart began, Ed Killian consistently produces outstanding wines that represent the best of their region.
Appellation: Alexander Valley
Components: Cabernet Sauvignon