2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Sonoma County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Cupid’s Arrowood
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate the best 2004 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon that Sonoma County has to offer
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Arrowood Vineyards and Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Richard L. Arrowood, Winemaster
Imbibe Magazine recently asked The Wine Spies for five wine recommendations. Because 2004 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon was such an incredible year for Cab, we put more than a dozen wineries under close surveillance, seeking only the best. Today, Agent Red reveals an incredible selection from Sonoma County – from the legendary Arrowood. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below, to find out how this wine made the Top 5 list
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep pale red to garnet in color and dark right to the edges where only a sliver of clear is apparent. That sort of concentrated color usually means that the flavors will follow suit. This wine also has a deep dark heart and slow-moving legs
Smell – This wine bursts forth with dark concentrations of ripe purple fruit, smoky, earhten plum, violets, chocolate, anise, cigar box, sandlewood and even a hint of watermelon rind and soft spices of clove-punched orange and cinnamon stick
Feel – Skinny and light at first but quickly the wines chalky tannins bite down hard, coating the mouth and drying the cheeks
Taste – Delicious and bold, concentrated flavors of rich dark cherry, cassis, plum, blackberry, dark chocolate and sandlewood with a hint of minerally-eucalyptus
Finish – Long and dry, with big and integrated flavors and sweetness that lingers
Conclusion – 2004 was an incredible vintage for most California Cabernet Sauvignon and this is a wine that was blessed to be among the best produced during that year. With super-rich and deeply concentrated aromas and layer upon layer of dark and delicious flavors, this wine made it onto our Best 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon list. Watch for my article in the next issue of Imbibe Magazine. In it I recommend five very special 2004 Cabs, with this wine topping the list. No wimp, this Cabernet Sauvignon packs a wallop of dark and heavy flavors – while also retaining balance and sophistication. For all of its bigness, you’ll find this wine to be a delight to drink on its own or with a hearty meal.
Sometimes we accept mission orders from outside agencies. Today’s mission was handed to us by Imbibe Magazine, self-described as a magazine about Liquid Culture. We’re big fans of the mag so when they asked us to sleuth out five wine recommendations for each issue of the magazine, we sprang into action.
Because we had had the supreme pleasure of tasting so many great 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon I didn’t have to ponder too hard over which varietal of wine to recommend. However, it is because this vintage of Cab is so good, that choosing 5 would prove harder than I thought.
I put out the call to my network of assets and then called on a select group of wineries I already had under surveillance. The samples started streaming in and I worked quickly to assemble a tasting panel.
We convened the panel at Central Command and, with six other palates plus my own, I felt confident that we would be able to make the best choices.
We scheduled 4 hours but took 8. This was harder than any of us had expected. In the end, we battled hard and our five choices rose easily to the top.
Today’s wine from Arrowood was a clear selection the moment that each of us tasted it. Master Winemaker, Richard L. Arrowood has created a giant and boastful wine in this perfect ’04 Sonoma County Cab.
Be sure to pick up a CASE of this wine, as we only have a limited quantity today. Enjoy now or cellar for the next 10+ years.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Arrowood Winery and surrounding vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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Wine Enthusiast Review
Shows the impeccable balance you expect from this master winemaker, even in this hot vintage, where supermaturity was a challenge. The wine is certainly ripe, offering a mouthful of blackberries, cherries and currants. But it never loses its elegant tanninacid architecture. Beautiful now, and should develop through 2014.
About The Wine:
The color is deep and youthful. The nose is a mix of ripe dark fruits, cassis, sandalwood and violets. The palate is rich and mouth coating with tannins that are clearly present, yet beautifully integrated. This is a delicious, full-bodied Cabernet that will bring great pleasure over the next decade.
Our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon is a complete wine. It is a testament to both vintage and the vineyards. The growing season opened with a heat wave in the first half of March triggering an early bloom. The remainder of the year was awash in warm days, cool nights and morning fog. All in all, we feel it was one of the finest Cabernet vintages of the last decade.
For vineyards, this Cabernet combines our favorite bench, hillside and mountain sites (many organically farmed) in Sonoma, Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys. By blending lots from a variety of sources Richard is able to capture the character of the vintage and the essence of Sonoma County Cabernet.
One of the greatest compliments we can pay a wine is to call it complete. A complete wine has no gaps, no missing essentials. The nose is layered; the flavors are decisive; the texture is broad and balanced. Both variety and terroir are inextricably woven throughout the liquid in perfect harmony.
About the Winemaster
Richard L. Arrowood was born in San Francisco and raised in Santa Rosa, California, Richard Arrowood started his winemaking career in 1965 at Korbel Champagne Cellars, after earning a degree in organic chemistry at California State University, Sacramento and completing graduate work in enology at California State University, Fresno. From Korbel he moved on, first to United Vintners, then Sonoma Vineyards, and in 1974 was chosen by the founders of Chateau St. Jean Winery to become their first employee as winemaster and, eventually, executive vice president. Chateau St. Jean wines quickly received critical acclaim and Richard gained a worldwide reputation for producing superb wines.
In April 1990, after sixteen years with Chateau St. Jean, Richard once again moved on – to devote himself full-time to Arrowood Vineyards and Winery. It is here that Richard has been able to achieve his goal of producing wines of singular, exceptional quality – without compromise. His original plan was to produce reserve quality Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon only, however, Richard’s drive and passion for making wine left him unable to resist working with unusual varietals and what he considers to be exceptional fruit. The Arrowood portfolio has expanded to include limited quantities of Merlot, Viognier, Pinot Blanc, Late Harvest wines, Malbec, Syrah and a few special reserve wines.
Varietal Composition: Cabernet Sauvignon (89.9%), Merlot (7.2%), Malbec (1.6%), Petit Verdot (1.3%)
Appellation: Sonoma County
Harvest Dates: September 1 through September 24, 2004
Average Sugar at Harvest: 25.3° Brix
Average pH (Harvest/Bottling): 3.4/3.9
Average Total Acid (Harvest/Bottling): .68g per 100ml/.55g per 100ml
Alcohol by Volume: 15.2% by volume
Release Date: October 2007
Total Production: 6043 cases