Wild West Winery
2004 Steer Crazy
Cabernet Sauvignon •Los Amigos Vineyard
California: Sonoma County
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 Wild West Winery.
Today’s wine can only be found online at The Wine Spies. Once again our clever wine agents secure a cache of wine for you before they become widely available.
Mission Codename: Love on the Range
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Give Agents Red and Sparkle the evening off – and see if the sparks fly
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Wild West Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Steer Crazy Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Rhonda Hood
Recently, two of our agents, Agent Sparkle and Agent Red were given an evening off from sleuthing wines. While enjoying a night off, a mysterious wine makes it into their possession. Read Agent Red’s tasting analysis and mission report below for more details on this great wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Wonderfully clear ruby red to pink, a raspberry Jell-O look and a loose and bouncy surface with fat and slow-moving legs
Smell – A rush of fruit and black tea with dark cherry, blackberry, sweet wood and mildest green peppercorn
Feel – Light, round and very wet in the mouth, with very gentle tannins and a lip-drying effect that we love
Taste – Sweet and fruity, with dark cherry, raspberry, acerola cherry (slightly tart as compared with ‘cherry’), mild cedar and just the mildest hint of asparagus and mineral
Finish – Tender and smooth, with lasting flavors and a hint of tannic dryness
Conclusion – This is a great departure from heavy and chewy Napa Cabs and for a red wine, I find this to be refreshing – which is an unusual thing for any red. I attribute this feeling to the wines fruitiness and lack of the usual over-oaking of some cabs. Don’t get me wrong, the fruit here is not a fruit punch-bomb; this wine has sophistication while it also expresses its wild side. I like it!
As you know, one of my primary objectives as a Wine Spy, is to keep a keen eye out for new wineries and wineries that our Operatives have never heard of.
Sometimes we happen upon wines while on a mission. Other times, wines just seem to find their way to us – as was the case with today’s wine.
Agent Sparkle and I had just come off of grueling back-to-back missions and finally found some time to relax and ‘debrief’ each other. Our plan was to enjoy a fine meal and a great bottle of wine while winding down in Sonoma County.
We made it to our favorite restaurant on time and when we checked-in with the Hostess, a trusted Wine Spies Asset, she handed us a bottle unlabeled wine and wispered, “This was handed to me by a confidential source, earlier today. I was told to had it you, and to tell you to try the wine and await further instructions.”
Intrigued, I asked, “Is this confidential source a friendly? Is the wine safe?”
She assured me that the source and the wine were to be trusted implicitly. Then she seated us and had our wine opened and decanted for us.
On sniffing the wine, my mind raced. There was something very familiar about this wine. I sipped. Interesting. Could my palate be so finely tuned that I could recognize the actual fruit in the wine? That the had a signature that could lead me to its source? Nah, I must just be tired, I told myself.
Without trying to over-think the wine, or the intriguing circumstances under which it found its way to us, we simply enjoyed the great wine with our excellent meal.
After the meal, a young woman wearing a cowboy hat delivered our check. “Howdy,” she said. “Did you enjoy the wine?”
Sparkle responded, “We loved it. Yours, I presume?”
It turns out that this woman was Rhonda Hood, lady winemaker and proprietress of Wild West Winery, a new winery in Sonoma County.
When I mentioned that her wine reminded me of wines made by one of my favorite winemakers, Richard “Kaz” Kasmier, she beamed. Kaz, is her sort-of adoptive father and wine-making mentor! I knew that there was something familiar about the wine!
Over another bottle of Rhonda’s wine, we sat and chatted for a spell. Before the night was over, we had negotiated a number of cases – to be made available exclusively to you, our Operatives.
Enjoy with a special Sweetheart.
Happy Valentines Day, from The Wine Spies
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Wile West Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
With robust flavors of blackberry and black tea leaf, rich aromas and a smooth finish will leave you asking for more. Try paring this fruity Cab with your next BBQ steak, chicken or ribs.
About The Winery:
Out of a father’s passion for farming and a daughter’s passion for winemaking, Wild West Winery was born. It’s a very small boutique winery that only produces 300 cases annually from Sonoma and Lake County grapes, where winemaker Rhonda Hood focuses on making smooth, fruity, and fun wines. “I really enjoy making classy wines with a fun twist. I had been dying to make a white Cabernet for years before I actually did it. I was scared about how it was going to turn out and at the same time excited because its a new adventure,” she said.
The winery has 2 acres of Riesling and an acre of Cabernet Franc in Lake County that will produce its first crop in 2008. Her father, Leroy Wallace provides all of the super fruity Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon and helps manage the Lake County vineyard.
So far wine has only been produced from friends high quality vineyards in very small quantities. Currently our small winery has three varietals bottled.
A tasting room is scheduled to be opened next year on Big Valley Road in Lakeport, not more than two
miles from Jed Steele.
About the Winemaker
I am the kind of winemaker that believes Sangiovese goes great with pizza and Cabernets go great with barbeques. Basically everything backwards from what the wine industry has grind into us for years. I make wine in a light fruity and fun style-where any wine is good anytime!
Steer Crazy is from mom and dads vineyard in Russian River Valley. Planted while I was in college in 1997 on SO4 rootstock, Clone #8 on 8×10 spacing with a quadrilateral system for Max sun absorption. My father and I prune and work this 7 acre vineyard ourselves with some help. This vineyard is drip irrigated and is thinned to improve quality. Oh, yeah and it is basically farmed organically.