2005 District 4 Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Grasso Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Divisible by none
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Decode a secret message to unravel the secret of Prime Cellars Napa Cab
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Prime Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 District 4 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Winemaker: Ted Henry
The fruit for this unique and tasty Cabernet Sauvignon hails from some of the most sought after spots throughout Napa Valley. Sourced from vineyards in Oakville, Coombsville and the northern end of the Napa Valley – vineyards that have such prestigious neighbors as Opus One, Cardinale, and Far Niente – the fruit is exquisite, and highly prized. Agent Red recently met with Ted Henry, winemaker for Prime Cellars. Read Red’s mission report and tasting notes, below, to find out if he learned the secret of Ted’s great wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark deep garnet with a dark but clear core and deep ruby edges. Slow clusters of thick legs run slowly down the glass when swirled.
Smell – A cheerful rush of fresh cherry leads the charge, followed by more earthen aromas of subtle tobacco, dusky chocolate and spice, which mingle with a delightful plum, currant and subtle freshly picked salad herbs
Feel – Smooth and round at first, then slightly dry and then tangy with a touch of soft spice on the mid palate. This medium-bodied wine has firm tannins and good acidity
Taste – Bold fruit leads off this wine with flavors of darkest plums, black cherries and blackberries. Toasted cedar, smoky blueberry, burned blackberry tart (pastry) and subtle tobacco are nicely layered. Toward the rear of the palate, a certain tartness appears with flavors of bright cherry and tart plum
Finish – Long and clean with flavors that linger with its tart fruit and earthen components
Conclusion – This 2005 Cab shows great character and fun fruit. Ready to drink now, we are certain that you should cellar a few bottles for the next few years for the big payoff with this wine. This is another great example of fantastic winemaking from a small producer. If you want to see how David (Prime Cellars) fares against Goliath (hint: he wins against some of the Goliath-est), sample this pretty wine.
A comment about the low-alcohol content of this wine: It is interesting to note that this wine has a relatively low ABV as compared with its Napa Cab brethren. This makes for an interesting drinking experience, one where the fruit is allowed to shine through, rather than be engulfed by the alcohol.
“Listen, Red. I’ll explain it one more time.”
Agent White was losing his patience with me, but I needed his help. I had gotten a coded message earlier in the day, and judging by the wine stain on the paper, I knew that it was important.
You see, I had the stain analyzed by the lab, and it came back with some pretty stunning, but also contradictory information; Analysis suggested that the wine was certainly a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, but it also revealed that the vineyard source – actually sources – for the wine were likely from nearly all corners of the Napa Valley. To make matters even more intriguing, the grapes came from vineyards which likely neighbored some very famous Napa Valley hallmarks.
“Okay, White, sorry to be so slow. Listen, you know that I am a visual person. Use the whiteboard and spell it out for me.”
Agent Whited sighed and said, “You know what a Prime number is. That’s a good start. Your note there makes it obvious that we are searching for the gap between the primes. Therein, we should find the answer – or at least new clues.”
He then wrote this on the board:
Let pn denote the nth prime number (i.e. p1 = 2, p2 = 3, etc.). The gap gn between the consecutive primes pn and pn + 1 is the difference between them, i.e. gn = pn + 1 − pn.
“You see,” asked Agent White.
“Umm, not quite,” I replied.
He snatched the paper from my hand and huffed away to his desk. Less than a minute later, he returned.
“These are latitude and longitude coordinates, along with a message that says, ‘drink me’. Any idea who this is from?”
“No,” I answered. “But I am going to find out right now.”
With that, I thanked White, left HQ, programmed my GPS, and was on my way. GPS showed my trip to be just under 45 minutes.
On arrival, I spotted only an electrical pole. About 6 feet up the pole, a small arrow-shaped placard showed “3-5-7” in reflective red letters. The letter pointed off toward a wooded area. Good thing I wore my rain boots.
After a short hike, I spotted a small metal box. Stenciled across the lid was a string of number, all primes. I examined the closure for telltales or trip mechanisms. It was clean. Carefully, I opened the lid. Inside, sitting on a red satin cushion, were two bottles of wine – the word Prime printed on the label.
A note inside read:
“Agent Red: Congratulations! You’ve passed our test. We hope that you and your Operatives enjoy our District 4 Cab!”
It was signed, “Ted and Lisa Henry”.
Well, the wine was great, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did, dear Operative.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Our Inaugural vintage is not your typical Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon…. it’s only 13.6% alcohol! It is our goal to make our District 4 Cabernet reminiscent of some of the great wines of Napa Valley’s past by shying away from high alcohol levels and over extraction.
By no means however, is this wine timid. The first hint that this is a serious Cabernet is the opaque ruby color in the glass. The nose is also quite impressive with aromas of black plum, forest floor, and spice. Of course the true gratification is on the palate as additional flavors of black currant, red fruits, dried herbs, and a touch of espresso, all linger on a 20 to 30 second finish. Don’t feel bad about drinking a bottle as soon as you get home, but if you have a cool place to store the wine, it should age nicely for five to seven years.
Definitely a classic year, things started out a little wet in March and April, which led to later than usual flowering. However, this delay was welcome as it limited the prospect of frost damage and allowed for excellent fruit set in May. A mild and rather uninteresting summer and autumn (this is a good thing) with a limited number of heat spikes created a long drawn out harvest throughout October creating plenty of “hang time” for the grapes to mature.
About The Winery:
Mission – In an effort to accomplish the saying, “Do what you love, love what you do,” three friends with similar interests and complementary talents came together. The result is their quest to bring a superior wine from prime locations in a socially and environmentally responsible fashion.
History – They all met while attending UC Davis and participating in the one and only Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! A passion for wine led them all to Napa where they worked in various wineries learning the ins and outs of all sides of the wine industry. Several years later they decided it was time to try this out for themselves.
About The Winemaker:
Ted Henry – Ted arrived at UC Davis undeclared (aka no direction). One introductory to winemaking class later and he became one of the only people around him who knew what he wanted to do and was having fun doing it. So much fun in fact that he took an extra year to get there (classes weren’t the only fun he was having). Upon graduation, Ted worked at Trinchero Family Estates enjoying the art of making fine wine with a large budget. He currently works at Jarvis where he has found a whole new world of winemaking philosophy’s and techniques, including the pleasure of working on a much smaller scale but much bigger vision. His wife can’t even complain about being a harvest widow anymore! Ted is excited to pool his experiences into Prime Cellars winemaking, even if it is a tiny amount right now. During the slow season Ted has started renovating the first car he ever owned, a 68 Camaro, with his dad, a beautiful kelly green complete with white stripe.
Production: 147 cases
Vineyard: Grasso Vineyard in Coombsville
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon