2007 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Mendocino County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
We are very bullish on most 2007 California wines, but today’s deserves special recognition as a superior example of this already superior vintage. As a hedge against the coming wine shortage, be sure to stock up on 2007s!
SECRET SAVINGS ALERT:
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Mission Codename: Duncan’s Delight
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Visit Topel Winery and acquire an allocation of their delicious 2007 Estate Reserve Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Topel Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Donnis Topel
Mendocino AVA, located along the Russian River and highway 101 north of Sonoma County is where the grapes for this delicious Cabernet Sauvignon were grown. The actual AVA is centered between Hopland and Ukiah in the southern third of the county and are heavily influenced by the climate which is regulated by the mountain ridges that surround the upper Russian River. The deep alluvial and gravelly loam soils also contribute to the flavor profile of the grapes grown in the region. While Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Chardonnay are the primary grapes grown in the region, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Petite Sirah and many other secondary grapes thrive in the climate.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest burgundy hues, with a ring of brilliant magenta at the edge of the glass. After spinning the wine, tall, thin, wine-stained tears fall from high up on the glass, descending slowly to the wine, below.
Smell – A rush of mixed preserves of blackberry, blueberry and blueberry rush up to greet you on the nose. These are followed by ripe raspberry, candied cherry, soft brown spice, leather, subtle tobacco, dried black flower petals, subtle wild fennel and a hint of freshly cracked pepper.
Feel – Initially silky and then the wine grips the edges of the palate. Then, slowly, an elegant plushness spreads all around the palate as integrated tannins combine with a bright acidity to drive flavors to the far corners of the mouth.
Taste – Ripe and juicy, with generous mixed berries, cassis and plum in the lead. The more you spin the wine, the more it opens up, revealing additional aromas of braised mission fig, earthy leather, subtle tobacco leaf, brown spice, black cherry skin and a hint of cracked pepper.
Finish – Juicy and delicious, with dark berry fruit giving way to earthy flavors, spice, subtle dark minerals and a flinty cracked pepper that can be felt at the edges of the tongue and along the gumline.
Conclusion – Just outstanding! Today’s 2007 Topel Winery Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark, delicious, fruit-filled wine that delivers a great rush of fruit, an elegant mouthfeel and heady aromatics. This wine is very well balanced and it is drinking beautifully. Well-structured and complex, this is a fun wine to sip and discuss, pulling apart the myriad characteristics on the nose and palate. Pair with a beef stew or your favorite steak on the BBQ. Highly recommended, drink this gorgeous wine now – or hold this age-worthy gem for up to 10 more years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Mark Topel
DATE OF BIRTH: January 11, 1945
PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
WINE EDUCATION: Self-taught. Audited courses at UC Davis, mentored by some of the finest CA winemakers who are good friends, and OJT.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker, Topel Winery 1996 – Present
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Minimal intrusion. Let the grapes express themselves.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Cabernet Sauvignon
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Tremendous positive feedback from satisfied customers
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Each vintage is like a new and unique poem—handcrafted and polished to perfection”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Mark. We are thrilled to be showing your exceptional 2007 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MARK TOPEL: It is always a pleasure to share our wines with you and your discerning Operatives, Agent Red!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MARK: 1962/63 Penfolds Grainge Hermitage, discovered while I was in Australia, trying a legal case.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
MARK: From my co-winemakers whose families had been working with grapes from our area for five generations.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
MARK: Minimal intrusion to allow the grapes to express themselves in the most profound manner possible.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MARK: Three; The aforementioned Penfolds Grainge Hermitage style, Harlan’s Red Table Wine—Merlot/Cabernet Blend, and Chuck Wagner’s Caymus Special Select.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
MARK: Since 1993
RED: Who do you make wine for?
MARK: Simply, ourselves and our customers
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
MARK: There are no shortcuts, no tricks, only hard work, long hours, and dedication to perfection.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
MARK: Lately, we’ve loved drinking this wine with a good steak or roasted chicken.
RED: What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
MARK: Our Topel Estate Blend
RED: We’ll have to feature that one, soon! How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
MARK: In a not-too-serious, but appreciative mode, reflecting an understanding that they are about to experience a very pleasurable product, which has resulted from lots of loving and joyful careful preparation.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Hopland/Mendocino region so special?
MARK: We have a unique micro-climate in Southeast Mendocino. Very similar to Calistoga. Warm summer days with cool Summer nights. Our ground is very difficult and filled with iron and magnesium. The grapes reflect that minerally quality, which works magically together with full food flavors.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DONNIS: We’re preparing for the summer bottling of our Napa Gamay and Dry Creek Valley Syrah. We’re watching the 2009 Topel Estate and Napa Reserve Cabernets closely, in the barrels, and will decide very soon when to get them in the bottle.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
MARK AND DONNIS: Likewise, thank you for the opportunity to introduce new people to our wines!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Topel’s Healdsburg tasting room where today’s wine and other great wines can be tasted can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Wine aficionados will tell you that the 2007 vintage in California was one of the very best in decades — and when you consider the outstanding quality of California wines, that’s saying a lot. Our Topel 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve is the third vintage we’ve released, and while we’ve been thrilled with the beautiful, elegant Cabernets from 2005 and 2006, we are absolutely ecstatic about this particular wine. The fruit for our Estate Reserve is harvested from our oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines, which were planted on our mountainside vineyard more than 20 years ago. As these vines have matured, their ability to produce has been dramatically reduced, but the fruit that does make it through the seasonal growing cycle has more intense flavors and darker, richer colors. Because we know its wonderful characteristics are very worthy, we take special steps in extracting the juice and we set it aside to mellow in choice barrels. The result is nothing short of splendid. Flavors of chocolate abound, with notes of black cherries and plums. The 2007 vintage yielded fruit even more opaque in color than the previous two vintages. It has a tremendous tannin structure that makes it approachable now, but we recommend giving it at least a couple of years in the bottle for the very best experience. And don’t forget to lay down a few in the cellar because this vintage will only get better as it gets older
Production Notes: As always, the grapes were field crushed and allowed to ferment in three-quarter ton lots. Each lot was punched down by hand five times a day for 24 days. The wine was then pressed into 50% new French oak barrels (COF Taransaud and COF Demptos) and 50% neutral barrels. We aged the wine for 33 months before bottling. Afterward, it aged another 12 months before its release in the Fall of 2011.
About The Winery:
All Topel wines are lovingly handcrafted by Mark and Donnis, who employ minimalist techniques to transform simple grape juice into world-class wines that are robust, yet balanced and elegant — soulful wines that perfectly reflect the soil and climate of their origin.
At Topel Winery, the art of making wine begins within 15 minutes after the grapes are harvested, with a “field crush” right in the vineyard. The grapes are then transported immediately to the winery to begin their transformation into wine.
Topel Winery uses the highest quality fruit from our estate vineyards and from selected sites that grow grapes to our stringent standards, for making our different varietals.
Varietals: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Merlot 2% Petit Verdot
Average Brix: 25.6
Production: 300 Cases