2005 Symphonia 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 even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Levendi Estates.
OPERATIVE WINE REQUEST ALERT: Today’s wine comes to you thanks to our Operatives, who demanded that we return to Levendi for their Symphonia Cab!
FREE SHIPPING ALERT: Enjoy Free Ground Shipping on six or more bottles, with promotional code CABSPY
Mission Codename: The Wine Gods have smiled upon us
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Our Operatives loved the previous Levendi Cabernet Sauvignon that we featured here. Send Agent Red to Napa Valley to investigate claims that Levendi Estates has crafted an ’04 Cab that beats wines at twice the price. If verified, procure a suitable quantity for our Operatives to enjoy
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Levendi Estates
Wine Subject: 2005 Symphonia Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley
Winemakers: Alison Doran
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies have had the great fortune to bring you some of the finest wines available anywhere. Of particular note are the handful of stellar 2004 California Cabernet Sauvignons featured here in recent months. If 2004 was a great year for Cali Cabs, then 2004 was an especially great year for those born in California’s Napa Valley. Today we send Agent Red, this agency’s red wine expert, to Levendi Estates, where he discovers today’s remarkable Cab. Read his tasting notes and mission report below for a complete profile of today’s wine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Hearty concentration of color that goes garnet to burgundy at the wines heart. The wine maintains great concentration of color right out to the edge of the glass. On swirling, the wine maintains its depth, but reveals a deep and juicy clarity with no murk. The wines bouncy surface and skinny legs contribute to the wines distinctive good looks
Smell – Bright and deeply aromatic on opening, with aromas of sweet cherry, mild spice, unique roasted tangerine peel, rose petals and red Swedish fish candy. After a little time in the air, the wine brightens as fresh fruits emerge, compelling you to inhale deeply, again and again. Eventually, the aromas become so enticing that you are reminded to actually taste the wine!
Feel – Round and full, the wine initially hovers across the front palate before it becomes full-on mouth-coating with structured medium tannins
Taste – Big and delicious, with balanced fruit and smoky cherry, blueberry, vanilla, sweet oak and dark plum with a hint of dusted dark chocolate
Finish – Begins dusky, then finishes sweet and fruity, with delicious sweetness, tartness and flavors that tail off slowly with a slight dryness
Conclusion – After we first feature Levendi here, our Operatives flooded us with requests for today’s Levendi wine. They loved the previous wine, but were very eager to taste today’s 2005 Symphonia Cabernet Sauvignon. Having just spent a few hours with the wine, I now know why! This wine is beautiful and bright, with a depth and sincerity that makes it a delicios on-its-own wine that is the sort that is fun to discuss as you enjoy it. I paired mine with a spicy penne pasta with arugola – which is a challenging pairing for any wine to stand up to. The spice and the tartness might tend to overpower other wines, but this Cab, with its bright acidity and solid flavors not only hold up, it compliments. If you tried our previous Levendi Cab, this is a sure-win. If you love most Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, you must try this fantastic win from our friends at Levendi.
Pairing Update – Later in the evening I called my asset at the winery to ask her if she had any desert pairing recommendations for the Symphonia. She recommended dark chocolate or chocolate cheesecake. I thanked her and instantly called Agent Sparkle, who was due to return from a mission. Sparkle returned to the safehouse with a fresh chocolate cheesecake. The pairing was remarkable. Perfect and delicious!
For your enjoyment, what follows is a retelling of our original mission report:
“Awake, Mortal!”, the voice thundered.
I shot up from my slumber – and promptly banged my head… on the ceiling? I looked around. Outside a window the countryside streaked past.
I remembered that I was on a train, traveling from Montenegro where I had taken some R & R time – to Greece, where I would be doing some deep background research on the origins of wine.
Looking at my watch I realized that I still had a few hours before I reached my destination. As I lay my head back down on my pillow, a voice bellowed, “You dare to sleep in my presence, Mortal?!”
My eye snapped open and, to my horror, I found that I was no longer on the train. Instead, I seemed to be in a huge atrium that was surrounded by pillars. In the center, a large figure sat atop what appeared to be a throne.
A deep laugh thundered from the man and then, “Fetch me a fresh amphora and come here, Mortal, my thirst is strong this day! Ariadne is in her chambers pining for Naxos, and Ikarios is busy tending the vines and arguing with shepherds again, leaving me unattended!”
From my research into ancient Greece and Greek mythology, this thundering figure could only be Dionysos, the Greek God of wine and fertility. How did I get here? Was I dreaming?
Playing along, I grabbed up a amphora of wine. He smiled warmly at me and took the amphora in one mighty hand. He lowered his nose into the mouth of the amphora and inhaled deeply. Smiling, he said, “Mortal, I have taught you well! You even put poor Ikarios to shame with your toil. Your wine making skills are nearly perfected. Perhaps I will grant you immortality after all.”
With this, he raised the amphora to me and shouted the word, “LEVENDI!”
Back in my train cabin, I blink the sleep away as the word echos in my mind. Levendi, Levendi. The word is familiar somehow… I quickly pullout my spy communicator and speak the word into its tiny microphone. An instant later, after completing its satellite connection to our W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexux Engine) databases at Central Command, I am presented with these results:
1) A traditional Greek toast, “Levendi” acknowledges a hard day’s labor and achievement
2) A fine winery in California’s Napa Valley
Of course! Increasingly I had been receiving intel on Levendi Winery from my informants. Then and there, I decided to cut my trip short – and rush to taste Levendi’s wines!
See my tasting notes above…
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of one of the vineyards, where today’s Cabernet Sauvignon was grown, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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Levendi Winery, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
About This Wine:
This limited production Levendi Cabernet Sauvignon entices with the sweet, toast nose reminiscent of cherry pie a la mode richly balanced with blueberry and vanilla flavors that crescendo in a nice finish.
About The Winery:
The Greeks claim to have invented wine. We think Napa Valley grapes perfect it. Combining our proud Greek heritage and the traditions passed down through the generations with the best-grown, hand-selected fruit in the region, Levendi has found the perfect balance of craftsmanship and legacy—richly poured into a glass.
Wine, after all, is a labor of love—an art form onto itself. And like all great art, it is meant to be shared. We see our wine at the table with family and friends. And at all those special moments with loved ones with whom life itself is worth celebrating.
In ancient Greece, wine was vital to both culture and community. The wines produced were inventive and integrated into every facet of life—from worship to commerce. Today, Mediterranean communities still hold wine in the highest regard. And from one generation to the next, wine is propagated, refined and shared with family.
Our family, the Gianulias’, has a strong Greek tradition of private winemaking dating back for centuries. Since 1926, on American—and Napa Valley—soil, we have propagated, refined and developed special handcrafted vintages to share with our family. And yours.
The Greek toast “Levendi” acknowledges a hard day’s labor and achievement. It celebrates the fields, the rain and the sun that nurture our special grapes. Essentially, it’s a toast “to celebrate life.” And it is the philosophy on which we craft our wine.
About The Winemaker:
Every year presents new challenges in winemaking. That’s because winemaking is indelibly—and eternally—tied to agriculture. Agriculture is unpredictable. And that’s where Alison Doran’s passion really begins—solving problems and producing remarkable results from her hand-harvested, hand-selected grapes.
For more than 30 years, Alison has been walking the vineyards that produce the finest varietals in the region. Spending a majority of her time on vineyard management, she keeps an eye on every aspect of vine growth—limiting their vigor so that they produce the most concentrated and intensely flavored grapes. She developed her skill from mentoring by renowned wine expert Andre Tchelistcheff, completing a degree in winemaking from UC Davis and spending time in the legendary winery-filled region of Alsace, France. Since then Alison has honed her craft into a distinctive style all her own—harvesting at optimum ripeness, and making sure she gets the “pop & jump” out of every grape.
At Levendi, Alison has brought vitality and excitement to the development of each vintage. The result of her labors is embodied in the exquisite taste and velvety feel our wines deliver glass after glass—a testament to Alison’s dedication to the vineyards, to the fruit and to her passion for the perfect pour.