What We Say 2004 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!:
We always feature great wine, but when we sleuth out a real stand out, we issue these special alerts. Today’s Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is really excellent!
EXTRA SAVINGS ALERT!:
Today’s wine is offered at over 20% off, but order six or more bottles and we’ll throw in Free Ground Shipping! Just enter coupon code: CABSPY and your savings will be applied at checkout
Mission Codename: Endless Summers
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure another stellar 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Summers Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Ignacio Blancas
Backgrounder: Napa Valley is widely acknowledged as ultimate area in which to produce Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2004 vintage has produced some of the most amazing examples on record. Today we send Agent Red to Summers Winery, where winemaker Ignacio Blancas makes wines of great quality and remarkable distinction. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep, rich ruby red in color with deep concentration of color right to the edges and throughout its dark burgundy heart. The surface of the wine is tight and light in appearance; it settles very quickly when swirled, leaving behind 2 layers of chubby legs that crawl slowly down the glass
Smell – Rich, dusky and dark concentrations of ripe purple fruit, cassis, cranberry, blackberry, vanilla and a hint of fresh herbs
Feel – Bright and round at the beginning of the sip, then soft tannins gently emerge on the mid-palate, roof of your mouth, then your cheeks, drying slightly as the wine coats your mouth
Taste – Complex and bold with brightly layered flavors of rich black cherry, cassis, smoky light plum, blackberry, subtle tobacco and a gentle minerality
Finish – Long and slightly dry, with big and integrated flavors that linger
Conclusion – A delicious wine that delivers a very balanced experience. Concentrated, but not overpowering, bright, but not light-hearted, this wine is flavorful and delicious – with a terrific feel and beautiful aromatics.
Afterward – Decant this wine for an extended period for best results. After 4 hours, the wine becomes even more balanced and delicious
Guest Reviewer Alert!
Today, we welcome back Agent Noir from grapelive.com. What follows are his thoughts on today’s wine:
“This is a well made, pure and clean Cab that is both deep and elegant with an old school grace to it. It reminds me of the early nineties BV Reserve Cabernets, giving pretty fruit and smooth ripe tannins. This is wonderful and focused with savory currants, blackberry, plum and wild-berry flavors supported with subtle toasty oak. A medium weight, but with lovely roundness and fresh lively fruit. A joy to drink anytime, and a good value for what you get.” – Agent Noir
With harvest and crush keeping most wine producers very busy, I sometimes have to rely on other sources for the intel I gather. Like any accomplished spy, I have developed numerous assets throughout all parts of the wine business.
Developing an asset can sometimes take great patience – and time. Other times all it takes is well-timed gift (okay, a bribe). I won’t tell you how I came to procure the inside skinny on today’s wine, but I will tell you that it came from a winery insider. Sometimes, dear Operative, I can’t reveal my sources, not even to you.
What follows is the transcript of my brief conversation with [redacted]:
AGENT RED: Listen, I know how busy you are, so we can make this brief. Tell me, with everything that’s going on with harvest and crush, whats the mood at the winery?
ASSET: Busy, but very upbeat. We’re expecting rain tomorrow, so we’re quickly picking all of the fruit that is ready.
RED: And you’re leaving some grapes on the vine?
ASSET: Yes, the Cabernet Sauvignon. We almost always see a rain that’s followed by an Indian Summer. This sets up the Cab nicely.
RED: How are the 2008’s looking?
ASSET: Fantastic! We expect great things!!
RED: Were you hit by the frost this year?
ASSET: Yes, but the outcome was a happy one. Where many wineries lost a great deal of fruit, the blocks that were hit here are high vigor and usually require hand-thinning. The frost did the thinning for us. I was a blessing in disguise!
RED: Lucky, indeed. Tell me about Ignacio, your winemaker.
ASSET: Well, he started here, years ago, as a vineyard worker. He had a real talent for grapes and quickly became Vineyard Manager and then Cellar Master. During that time he studied and worked under our former winemaker.
RED: And then a few years later?
ASSET: He became our winemaker. Having worked in all parts of the process, Ignacio grew to become intimately familiar with our vineyards. He has shaped the development, long-term, of the fine fruit that we grow here. We could not imagine anyone better in his position.
RED: Tell me about your 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon.
ASSET: As you know, ‘04 was a stellar year. We joke that if a winemaker couldn’t produce great wine – of any kind – in 2004, they should probably fine another career!
RED: Well, I do find 2004 Napa Cabs to be particularly great…
ASSET: Yeah, they are. This wine has all of the classic rich black cherry and cassis flavors, with a great feel and perfect finish. We think that its great to drink now, but also has amazing aging potential.
RED: Thanks for your time. Now get back to harvesting those great Summers grapes! Our Operatives are relying on you to continue to produce great wines. We’ve become big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Summers Estate can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Summers Estate Wines
Summers Estate Wines, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Wine Enthusiast Magazine October 2007
90 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Dec. 2007
Silver Medal – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2008
About This Wine:
Summers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on our Estate Villa Andriana vineyard grown in deep loamy, volcanic soils. This vintage represents true Cabernet Sauvignon character. Our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in French oak barrels for 21 months resulting in medium to dark ruby colored wine and sweet French vanilla notes. Summers vineyard management and wine style are realized in this signature Cabernet Sauvignon exhibiting rich black cherry and cassis flavors to the wonderful mid-palate, excellent texture and tannic structure.
Suggested Food Pairings: Grilled Beef with Carmelized Onions.
About The Winery:
Imagine . . . a day in Calistoga enjoying all that northern Napa Valley has to offer . . .warm hospitality, refreshing wine and bubbling springs. The Summers family (Beth, Jim and Andie) invite you to partake in the beauty and genuine good cheer that is Summers Estate Wines. Spend some time tasting our gold-medal-winning wines, playing bocce ball, or relaxing with your picnic on our patio — all with scenic vistas of Mount St. Helena and the “Old Faithful” Geyser.
Jim Summers purchased a 28-acre vineyard in Knights Valley in 1987. At that time it was mostly Merlot grapes with some Muscat Canelli. The first production of Summers Ranch Merlot was the 1992 vintage, and we increased the yield to reach a maximum of 2000 cases.
In 1996 we expanded our vineyard holdings to include 25 acres at the corner of Highway 128 and Tubbs Lane. This Napa Valley property carries the name Summers Estate Wines, with the vineyard designation of Villa Andriana Vineyard, named after our daughter. The property has been completely transformed to recognize its full potential. With a winery/tasting room, entertainment center, bocce ball court, picnic area and 22+ acres of vines (Zinfandel, Charbono, and Cabernet Sauvignon) we think it a perfect balance of pleasure and productivity.
Creating red-wine from grapes grown on small acreages in both Napa Valley and Knights Valley is the passion of Beth and Jim Summers. The signature, “unique” wine offered by Summers is Charbono. The name is thought to be an early Italian immigrant version of Charbonneau, a French varietal. Some strongly believe that this variety is a close relative to the Dolcetto variety, widely grown in northern Italy. The vine bears very large berries that are used to make a very dark red wine that, when subjected to extended skin contact during fermentation, is full of fruit flavor and low in tannins.
Ignacio Blancas, the Winemaker and Vineyard Manager for Summers Estate Wines has worked with us for ten years now. In addition to working full-time with Summers, Ignacio has continued his education, and completed his Certification in Viticulture and Enology in 2004. Ignacio remains up-to-date with all current best-practices by attending seminars about viticulture and winemaking.
Ignacio has been instrumental in the replanting of most of Summers’ 50 acres of grapes in the past 7 years. Great wine starts with great vineyards, and Ignacio has helped Summers’ produce the best grapes possible in relation to our soils and location in the warm, northern end of Napa Valley. At Summers Estate Wines, Ignacio has discovered ways to enhance the volcanic soil to best take advantage of one of the qualities that gives Summers’ wines their distinctive taste — our long list of award winning wines attest to his talents.
In addition to his duties as one of the busiest winemakers in the valley, he is a busy family man, too. He is married to Josephina and has a daughter, Rosa Elena, and a son, Ignacio, also known as Junior.
Cellaring: Enjoy now or can be aged for 7 to 10 years;
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon;
Total Acidity: 0.56g/100mL
Barrels: Fermented 21 months in French Oak, 40% New Oak
Cases Produced: 750