Alexander Valley Vineyards
California: Alexander Valley
Cyrus the great
We’ve had the great pleasure to feature Alexander Valley Vineyards several times over the last six years. Always, we have loved AVVs fantastic wines. For today’s wine, we were given free access to their collection - and we went right for the top.
Today’s 2006 Cyrus is AVVs flagship Bordeaux-style blend and we are enamored with it. Bold, bright, spiced, and richly layered, today’s wine is delicious, complex and intriguing. With its bright and balanced flavors, this wine is an easy companion for a great meal. We paired ours with freshly grilled burgers with all the fixings.
We give this 92 point (Wine Enthusiast) wine our very hearty Wine Spies recommendation.
Dark burgundy hues, with even coloration from core to edge. Wine coats the glass with color when swirled. After a moment, this coating coalesces into tall columns of skinny crimson legs that run slowly down the glass.
Warm and sweet, with spiced blackberry, black cherry and brambly boysenberry. As the wine opens up, soft leather, chocolate and dried cranberry mingle with soft dried meats, black pepper and a hint of fennel.
Bright red and black fruit mingle with spice, toasted oak, earthy dried leaves and black pepper. Fruits consist of wild strawberry, blackberry, black cherry and black raspberry.
Very long and bright, with sustained fruit and spice. Earthen flavors are revealed as fruit tails off. Dried leaves, minerals and black pepper appear at the very end.
With its bright and balanced flavors, this wine is an easy companion for a great meal. We paired ours with freshly grilled burgers with all the fixings.
What the Winery Says
Understanding exactly what qualities will be delivered from each vineyard is a key component to making great wine and a significant reason why CYRUS wins praise from critics year after year. For this latest release of our proprietary Bordeaux blend, Winemaker Kevin Hall selected fruit from seven different vineyards he determined were particularly exceptional in 2006.
But deciding which vineyards lots are the best was only the first step. Kevin also had to determine which Bordeaux varietals would best compliment the Cabernet Sauvignon that is the focal point for CYRUS and in what quantities. For the 2006, he blended in a sizeable amount of Cabernet Franc along with some Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Finally the wine was aged for a year in French and American oak. blended and then aged an additional year in French oak barrels.
The 2006 is a complex wine offering up flavors of blackberry and rich mocha. Taste this vintage of CYRUS and you’ll quickly understand why it is a top award winning wine and was rated a 92 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
- Kevin Hall
- 92 Points - Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Grand Champion: Best of Show - 2011 Houston Rodeo Wine Competition
- Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
- Varietal Composition
- 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot
- Aged for 24 months in French and American oak, 30% new
About the Winery
Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley was mostly prune orchards and pastures when, in 1962, Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased a large portion of a homestead built by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s nineteenth century namesake. Here, in a rural community of family farms and ranches, the Wetzel family settled and raised livestock, cultivated bountiful gardens and restored Alexander’s original home, making it the center of family life.
In 1963 the Wetzels boldly planted premium grape varieties, among the first in the area. They sold the grapes for a number of years to other wineries and bottled their first vintage of Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon in 1968, but this wine was only given to friends and family.
In 1975 the family built a small winery and Hank Wetzel, oldest son of Maggie and Harry, produced Alexander Valley Vineyard’s first wine.
Today the Alexander Valley is a prominent appellation known worldwide as the source of elegant, age worthy wines. The Wetzel Family Estate grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Vineyard Manager Mark Houser and Winemaker Kevin Hall work as a team to maximize fruit flavor in the vineyard and to create balanced wines that capture the grapes’ varietal characteristics.
Winemaker Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall has studied wine and winemaking techniques across the globe, but the AVV winemaker says his philosophy has always been to respect the inherent qualities of the estate grapes right at his doorstep. “I get beautiful fruit from here on the property,” he says, “and my main focus is to preserve the flavor of the varietal and the terroir.”
Kevin joined AVV’s winemaking staff in 1998. Prior to that, he worked in the cellars of Sebastiani Vineyards and *R.H. Phillips before earning a Masters of Science in Enology from University of California at Davis. He also spent time exploring the world’s major wine regions working at wineries in Bingen, Germany and Hastings, New Zealand.
Between jobs, while traveling through Italy, Spain and all the major wine regions of France and Australia, he talked to as many winemakers as he could, learning key techniques that other winemakers used to produce their best wines. Those experiences gave him irreplaceable insight that he still uses today and easily explains why his wines have a traditional old world style.
Under his direction, Alexander Valley Vineyards has won numerous prestigious awards including Top White Wine at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, Best of Appellation at the California State Fair and Grand Champion at Rodeo Uncorked.