Charles Creek Vineyards
2005 Las Pasiones Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s bold and rich Cabernet Sauvignon from our good friends at Charles Creek Vineyards deserves to be called out as a fantastic wine. A wine from a great vintage, great fruit and a great winemaker that is just starting to hit its peak, this wine is well worthy of your consideration.
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Mission Codename: Passion Runs Wild
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to our friends at Charles Creek Vineyards and retrieve an allocation of their much sought after Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Charles Creek Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Las Pasiones Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Kerry G. Damskey
Backgrounder: Our Operatives are crazy for Charles Creek wines. The first time we featured their excellent wines here, our Operatives snapped up our entire allocation before the one-day sale was over. Today, we return to Charles Creek to bring you their Las Pasiones, Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Extremely dark purple with garnet hues and tiny streaks that barely shine through this wine’s dense but clear heart. Deep garnet shows along the edges. When swirled, widely-spaced, medium legs quickly descend, ringing the glass.
Smell – Ripe and rich aromas of black cherry, ripe plum, blackberry and other dark fruit lead the way, are framed by soft toasted and vanilla oak and spice notes. A touch of sweet black licorice and earthy undertones blend with a hint of cocoa that also emerges.
Feel – This dry wine is full-bodied and has well developed, finely grained, firmly structured mouth-drying tannins that expand to the far corners of the tongue. A touch of tangy acidity and textured minerality grasps the rich fruit and other flavors and holds tight into the finish.
Taste – Rich and plush with generous and almost jammy dark fruit including black cherry, blackberry and plum, along with a touch of cherry pit. All of the fruit is framed by a spiced and toasted oak component that lingers and lingers. Touches of vanilla and cocoa along with hints of hot spice, subtle herbal and pepper notes add depth and complexity.
Finish – Extremely long with the finely grained, sturdy tannins that last and last while the fruit and other complex flavors fade, leaving behind a textured and mouth-coating feel that invites another sip.
Conclusion – The 2005 Charles Creek Vineyards Las Pasiones Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Cab that is both sturdy in structure and generous in its aromas and flavors. Rich on the nose with plenty of black cherry to lead you in and a mouth feel that cuts right to the chase and lasts long into the finish. Drinking very well right now, please descant or let it breathe, or cellar for another seven to ten years. A real keeper. Pair this wine with a big juicy steak and pomme frites.
AGENT WHITE: Please tell us a little something about today’s featured 2005 Las Pasiones Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon?
KERRY: This is a mountain grown Cabernet Sauvignon. Two vineyards; both grown at 1800 feet. One is the Mountain Terraces Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. This constitutes 92% of the blend. The second is the famous Stagecoach Vyd in Napa Valley which is within the Atlas Peak sub appellation. Again, at 1800 feet.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KERRY: Meat man! Because these wines are of mountain origin, they have great tannic structure. Perfect for fatty and rich red meats. Lamb or beef.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes these vineyards so special?
KERRY: Mountain Cabernet. Can’t beat it. Volcanic soils which are lean in organic material. Not very good water retention either. Because of this, we get great concentration from small berries and very low yielding vines.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KERRY: Always focusing on making great wines that have “the yummy factor”
WHITE: 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 approximate location of the Charles Creek Vineyard tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
GOLD MEDAL & BEST OF CLASS – 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL – 2008 Dallas Morning News Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL – 2008 Grand Harvest Awards
About This Wine:
Deep purple in hue and youthfully vibrant, this richly extracted Cabernet Sauvignon is built for the next decade (or more) of aging but holds immediate appeal for its ripe fruit and opulent texture. Aromas of dark cherry and spice accompany the deeply fruited berry and plum favors. An accent reminiscent of sarsaparilla and vanillin with a touch of mocha lends complexity while refined tannins suggest the advantages of cellaring.
About The Vintage: While complicated by heavy rains in the late winter, a mid-march spring heat wave kicked off the growing season in a big way. Rains continued on an off through June with moderate temperatures overall; growers were forced to drop fruit that was affected by botrytis and mildew resulting in somewhat smaller crop yields. Ultimately, the vineyards got the sun and heat that they needed resulting in good quality fruit.
Serve with: Rich beef or lamb based dishes, seared duck breast or flavorful duck confit would be excellent partners with this lush, full favored Cabernet.
About The Winery:
Bill and Gerry Brinton founded Charles Creek Vineyard in 2002 with the goal of creating outstanding wines at an exceptional value. Specializing in high quality Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon from great vineyard sources in the Sonoma and Napa valleys, Charles Creek produces wines that are food friendly, fruit driven, and easily paired with the courses of a meal. Since its inception, Charles Creek has garnered numerous awards for its groundbreaking approach to crafting wines. A descendant of John Deere, Bill Brinton operates Charles Creek according to the principles of value, integrity, and quality.
Bill Brinton, Proprietor – Bill Brinton resides in Sonoma, but his roots are deep in the Midwest. Midwesterners are known for strong American values, respect for family and institutions, and the ability to create and recognize value in products.
Bill is a direct descendant of a true pioneer, John Deere. His direct family was at the helm of Deere until its recent transition to a public company. Deere created the self-scouring steel plow, an invention that revolutionized the agricultural world. It is this spirit of innovation and tradition that Bill brings to the company he founded, Charles Creek Vineyard. Charles Creek is named after his son Charley and his grandfather, Charles Deere Wiman.
Ten years prior to the start of Charles Creek Vineyard, Bill used this same dedication to create new and innovative beverages. In 1993, Bill, a graduate of the Columbia University MBA program, established a natural products and nutritional beverage firm, The Wiman Beverage Company. This company was sold to a larger firm in 2000.
Bill enjoys vineyard selection and development, as well as the critical evaluation and blending of the juice from grapes into wine. The wines are styled to pair wonderfully with a wide variety of fresh foods, and his vision is to create wines that could be sold for $30 to $75 per bottle, but that provide an exceptional value in the $20 to $25 price range. Value and integrity are the cornerstone of Midwestern values, and the basis upon which Charles Creek Vineyard was founded.
Gerry Brinton, Proprietor – Gerry has always had a very strong connection with the land.
Born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa, Gerry spent many mornings picking raspberries outside her kitchen door, and many afternoons helping her grandmother weed the vegetable garden, picking currants, gooseberries, apples and even grapes as they ripened into the fall.
Gerry was educated in North Carolina at Duke University and Boston and settled in San Francisco with her husband, Bill. However, the lure of a more rural lifestyle brought them to Sonoma County to set up as an alternative location in which to foster the same respect and love for the land, and the values it promotes, in their two young sons. Over the years, their garden in Sonoma provided more and more harvests for their table. As their boys grew up and moved away, Gerry & Bill found they could shift their primary focus to their Sonoma home. That same garden is the basis of many a delicious and healthful meal that is complemented by the wines of Charles Creek Vineyard.
Somewhere along the way it occurred to them to follow the lead of many others, and plant their property to vine. The success of early harvests spurred them on to expand that part of their dream to produce exceptional wine at a reasonable price. Gerry has worked in many capacities over the years, CPA, management consultant, property manager, principal in a fresh juice company, and volunteer director for a major medical center. Her goal has always been to work on projects that she believes in: ones that she can ethically and whole-heartedly support. The latest of these, Charles Creek Vineyard, meets these criteria. The best fruit from the best land, well cared for and handled properly, can yield wonderful wines, and that is the goal of this part of the adventure.
Kerry Damskey, Consulting Winemaker – With 25 years of winemaking experience on four continents, Kerry Damskey brings both expertise and perspective to Charles Creek Vineyard. Damskey has spent his career gaining a better understanding of the entire ecology of wine, including the impact of climate, soil, sun exposure, and temperature on the grape growing and winemaking process. This concept, which the French call terroir, is the name of his consulting company.
Damskey holds a B.S. in fermentation sciences from the University of California, Davis, is a graduate of the intensive program for small business at the Stanford University School of Business, and is a candidate of the Institute of the Masters of Wine. Damskey is a two-time winner of the Sonoma County Wine Sweepstakes award, the highest award at one of the most competitive events, and has received numerous other gold awards for his wines.
The Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
The Vineyards: 93% Sonoma Valley-Mountain Terraces, 7% Napa Valley-Stagecoach Vineyard
Total Acidity: 0.62 mg/100mls
Aging: 23 months in French and American Oak Cooperage