What We Say 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
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 even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Joseph Family Vineyards.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
We always feature great wines, but today’s wine is an absolutely superb Cabernet Sauvignon. Grab some, Operative, before we run out
Shipping Included + an additional 10% off on 6 bottles or more. Enter this coupon code at checkout (discount will be shown before you complete your order): SONOMASPY
Mission Codename: Joseph the Lionhearted
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Investigate the reports that Howell Mountain Vineyards still has a handful of cases of its fabled 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. If true, procure any remaining cases for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Joseph Family Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Scott Peterson
Backgrounder: Born of a partnership between two wine-loving families, Joseph Family Vineyards owners Jon Joseph and Bill Esselstein share a common goal: The perfection of the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The wineries single varietal has improved greatly with the inaugural release of its first cab in 2003. With the release of their 2005 vintage, that goal may already be realized. Those Operatives that know these perfectionists, their winemaker Scott Peterson (of Villa Mt. Eden and Drummer fame), or their vineyard manager John Piña, know that Joseph Family has assembled a remarkable team – that make remarkable wines
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and inky, burgundy-purple in color with dark concentrated color right to the edges and perfect clarity through and through – if you look hard enough. The wine exhibits a tight surface that settles quickly on swirling and thick, widely-spaced legs that move slowly down the glass
Smell – Bright, deep and powerful concentrated fruit of black cherry, black plum and dark berries with oak and subtlest smoky meat and early Fall forest floor rounding out the incredible aromatics of this wine
Feel – Cool and light across the front of the tongue, the wine really takes shape – and takes hold – at the mid and back palate where it coats the mouth and digs in with lovely medium and bright tannins
Taste – Concentrated flavors of berry, cherry, dark plum and smoky oak, with follow-on flavors of mildest Italian herbs, this wine also has great acidity for flexible pairing
Finish – Rich and deep and delicious, with flavors that linger and a good tannic bite that introduces a hint of dryness and keep the flavors going strong for a long time
Conclusion – This is a fantastic wine! Of all of the wines we have been tasting this year, those that hail from Alexander Valley are the most consistent in their overall quality. This wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon is somewhat heartier than those from other wineries in the region. This Bordeaux-like richness may be attributable to the extended time that the skins were left in contact with the juice (maceration), the deliberately low vineyard yields or the 21 months spent in-barrel. No matter the reasons, Joseph Family Vineyards has produced a distinctive and bold wine thatis rich and delicious – but does not overpower.
Puma concolor. The California Mountain Lion. There I was, face to face with one of the largest males I had ever seen – and did he ever look hungry!
He emitted a low growl as he circled me, sizing me up. Then he lunged for my ankles…
“Okay, Agent Whiskers, you can see the bottle now.”
Agent Whiskers, as most of you Operatives know, is a Wine Cat. While much fuss is made over Wine Dogs – what, with entire coffee table books devoted to them – the Wine Cat is the unsung hero of the winery, keeping both cellar and vineyard free from rodents and other pests.
Agent Whiskers, Codename: Meowbec due to his unusual love for the Malbac grape varietal, is a special sort of Wine Spy. His ability to detect superior wine, before a bottle is ever even opened, for example, is uncanny. Watch for a Meowbec mission upcoming. For now, back to today’s wine:
I show Meowbec the bottle. On the label, a proud California Mountain Lion stands high above a vineyard. I place the bottle on the desk and Meowbec jumps up to inspect it. After gazing at the label for a moment, Meowbec declares, definitively, “Mert!”, an expression I have come to know means, “Great wine!”.
Opening the bottle I offer the cork to Meowbec, who bats it off the desk and onto the floor. His work done for now, he jumps down and proceeds to play a spirited round of cork hockey, a game that will likely last until the first of his afternoon siestas.
The wine is, indeed, excellent. No surprise here, really. Jon Joseph and his team are sincere, dedicated wine folk that are supremely dedicated to their craft.
A richly layered ad well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, I found best results after a few hours of decanting. This is a wine that loves to breathe a little before it is imbibed. If you have the patience to let the wine sit for a while, you will be duly rewarded.
Kudos to Jon and the rest of the Joseph Family, ummm, family, for producing such an excellent Cab. Meowbec and the rest of us here at Wine Spies Central Command love the wine!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the VINEYARD can be seen in this satellite photo.
Keen Operatives will note the location of the Joseph Family vineyards and the proximity to their prestigious neighbors!
What the Winery Says
Joseph Family Vineyards
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About This Wine:
Our vintage 2005 Cabernet was harvested the second week of October. Our notes recall that this was a lush year with lots of rain and a mild, long summer. Generally, yields that year were very high, as was quality. We intentionally, however, cropped our 12 acres to only two tons per acre. As with all our vintages, the 2005 was made in a classic Bordeaux style, with extended maceration (the juice left on the skins for over 30 days) and aged in 65% new French oak for 21 months.
The 2005 vintage is probably our most complex yet, with multiple layers of bright, black cherry overlain with a mocha finish, the result of seamless integration of creamy sweet tannins rendered from both the fruit and toasted oak barrels.
With winemaker Scott Peterson, we walked the vineyard daily before harvest, tasting the fruit’s flesh for flavors and testing the seeds for color and texture. Our vineyard manager, John Piña and his company, Piña Vineyard Management, has developed and cared for some of the finest vineyards in Napa and Sonoma for 40 years.
The vineyard is located on a bench above the Russian River alluvial plain at the southeast corner of the Alexander Valley. The cabernet sauvignon vines are planted in a shallow pebble loam and are low yielding. The south-facing vines are meticulously cared for. We prune the thick canopy to give the grapes plenty of noon-day sun while allowing for cooling shadows in the afternoon and the chill of an occasional evening fog. This unique location was prized for 15 years by our former grape buyer, who would feature the wines over dozens of suppliers at the annual Alexander Valley Association barrel tasting. We feel truly blessed with a terroir unique even to Alexander Valley, allowing us to yield a quality of fruit that can compete with any in the world.
Winemaker Scott Peterson has directed red wine programs at Villa Mt. Eden, Conn Creek (where he worked with the legendary Andre Tchelistcheff) and for some years at Kendall-Jackson, where he became familiar with our vineyard. For the last seven years Scott has served as a consultant to artisan wineries in California and produces his own small-lot vintages under the S.P. Drummer label. Our winemaking starts in the vineyard, in no small part due to John Piña and Piña Vineyard Management, who has cared for some of the finest vineyards in Napa County for over 40 years.
About The Winery:
Joseph Family Vineyards is a partnership of two families. Jon Joseph, president, is a former Wall Street executive with financial market experience in New York, Tokyo and San Francisco. Bill Esselstein, general manager, spent over 40 years practicing public agency law in Menlo Park, CA.
Bill is on the board of the Alexander Valley Winegrowers association, while JFV is also a member of the Sonoma County Grape Growers association, the Family Winemakers of California and Alexander Valley Outlaws – a group of small, family-owned artisan wineries in Alexander Valley.
Cases produced: 970
Sugars at harvest: 25.7° brix
Harvest Date: October 13, 2005
TA: 5.18 g/l
Bottle Date: July 11, 2007
Acidity: 3.64 pH