2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Calistoga Cellars.
GREAT WINE ALERT!: Today’s wine garners a 95 Point score from Agent Sparkle, who declares this her new favorite (non-bubbly) wine. Grab a few bottles, before we run out!
Mission Codename: Ambitious, Punctilious, Delicious
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate and secure the best Napa Cabernet Sauvignon we can find – for less than $30
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Calistoga Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Calistoga Cellars Cabernet Sauvingon
Winemaker: Barry Gnekow
If our Operatives love a great Cabernet Sauvignon, they go crazy for a Napa Valley Cab. The only problem is that most Operatives are used to spending $50 or more for a great example. For today’s mission we send Agent Red to scour the Napa Valley for the best Cab he could find for under $30. With today’s special discount, Agent Red secures a small quantity of a stellar Napa Cab for our Operatives to enjoy. Read his mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfect clarity, with a deep dark-plum heart and pink-purple edges with some of the slowest moving legs I have seen
Smell – Classic Napa Cab with rich aromatics of deep plum, dark cherry, oak, smoke, and blackberry with mild tobacco, smoked meats,oak and chocolate
Feel – Rich and round, cool and mouth coating with soft to medium tannins
Taste – Deeply layered and richly complex, with great concentrated flavors of smoky plum, dark cherry, black currant, leather with mild cigar box and sweet cedar
Finish – Rich and lingering, with flavors that change as they taper off, essentially mimicking the tastes listed directly above, then slightly dry with a soft tannic feel
Conclusion – This is a GREAT wine in the classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon style. I am very impressed. It is delicious, robust, intense and elegant, with flavors and aromas that light up my senses. Right out of the bottle it drinks perfectly, with decanting the wine really opens up and reveals more layers of flavor and aromas. This is a wonderful wine that is really ready to drink now, but would likely improve with additional cellaring.
For todays wine I was give a simple objective: Find a great Napa Cabernet Sauvignon for under $30.00.
While I knew that this would not be impossible, I did know that my options could be somewhat limited. For better or worse, Napa has garnered the reputation among some for having the best Cabs in California. This reputation may have something to do with the relatively high prices for Cabernet in the region, but I was determined to find a great wine in the price-range.
I conducted this mission in a somewhat unorthodox manner,
scouring the county for wineries both familiar and those new to me. After I determined whether the winery had a suitable Cab, at each stop I gave myself just 15 minuted to sleuth out all I could about the wine, the winery, the winemaker and the vineyard. Then I procure a bottle and move on.
In total, I visited 7 wineries that day and left with 4 bottles. I brought these back to Central Command, where I convened an impromptu blind-tasting panel of 2 of my fellow spies; Agent White and Agent Sparkle.
With the bottles wrapped in our plain brown Wine Spies gift bags (we usually include a few with orders of 6 or more bottles), I poured each of us one glass of each of the wines and, in silence, we swirled, sniffed, sipped and took prodigious notes.
On comparing our impressions, our decision was unanimous; Hands-down, the Calistoga Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon ranked the highest. In fact, Agent Sparkle has named this wine her new GO-TO red wine!
This wine certainly get a strong recommendation from me and from Agent White as well. I recommend it as a drink-and-hold wine, meaning that you should enjoy some now, but cellar a few bottles as well. A wine this good now, will likely only get better with a little age.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Calistoga Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
We’re sure that this wine will be as great as, if not better than our past vintages. The 2005 vintage started out wet and cool, followed by heat in August and a cool autumn. Harvest finally wrapped up just before Thanksgiving – one of the longest harvests on record. Overall, the vintage shows exceptional quality, and we expect that this year will be one of the best of the decade.
Complex flavors of plum and cherry fruit with touches of chocolate, herb and oak. Full-bodied and smooth with rich tannins and a lingering finish.
Calistoga Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is made predominantly of fruit sourced from our estate ranch Blossom Creek in Calistoga and the Louer Family Vineyard in St. Helena. Each vineyard lot is kept separate throughout fermentation and aging to preserve the unique flavors of the individual vineyards that create this consistent, award-winning wine.
The harvest concluded with warm fall weather which further concentrated the flavors. After fermenting the grapes in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Before bottling, Merlot was added to the final blend. The result is a rich, complex wine with tons of depth and purity of flavor. Enjoyable now, the wine in this bottle will continue to improve with age.
The intense elegant flavors of our Cabernet Sauvignon complement a variety of hearty entrees, including steak, lamb, and barbecued meats. Enjoy for the next 5-10 years.
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Napa Valley
Aging: 18 months in French oak barrels
Alcohol %: 14.9