Raymond Burr Vineyards

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

California: Sonoma County

Offer Expired:Jun 30, 2009 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s wine is an excellent and delicious Cabernet Sauvignon – from one of our favorite producers.


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Mission Codename: The Case of the Consummate Cab

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Send Agent Red back to Raymond Burr winery, to retrieve their stellar 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – before it goes on lock-down!

Mission Status: Accomplished

Current Winery: Raymond Burr Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Phyllis Zouzounis

Backgrounder: Our Operatives know that we are huge fans of Raymond Burr wines. We have featured a handful of their wines previously, and today’s 2005 Cab, a brilliant blend of 85% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Estate Cabernet Franc, proves to be just as fantastic as the rest. The 2004 vintage of this wine won a 2008 Wine Intrigue Award Winner as Agent Red’s Top Selection. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and click the big blue button to grab some of this special wine – before we run out

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep garnet, with a darker, concentrated heart and ruby hued-edges. When swirled, this wine has a soft bounciness to it that leaves behind intriguing legs that start off fat and slow, but then turn quickly skinny as they crawl slowly down the glass

Smell – Lush and intense with earthen aromas of blackberry bramble, blackberries, smoky dark cherry, and chocolate. These are gently layered atop floral aromas of violet, sweetwoods, oak and soft minerals

Feel – Soft and light weight, slightly dry on the initial attack. Then, this wine digs in, revealing a supple, medium-body with medium-firm, but fine and well-structured tannins. A balanced acidity rounds out the great overall feel

Taste – Bold and delicious, finely balanced with well integrated flavors from both the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon in the wine. Brightly tasty flavors of ripe red cherry, plum, ripe blackberry and mocha with a hint of oak, minerals and subtle spice

Finish – Clean, bright and long with lingering ripe blackberry, semi-tart cherry, soft minerals and a hint of smoky plum. The wine is lightly mouth-coating and as flavors tail off, the mouth waters – telling you in no uncertain terms that is time for another delicious mouthful

Conclusion – I had great expectations of this wine – and I was not disappointed! This is a terrifically delicious wine with plenty of flavor, character and complexity. As a fan of Cabernet Franc, I am all to aware that sometimes Franc can overpower a Cabernet Sauvignon when used as a blending component. I was really pleased with how beautifully integrated the Franc was in this wine, complimenting the flavors and feel with a bright suppleness and aromatic appeal. Raymond Burr Vineyards deserves all of the praise that we continue to shower on it. Their wines are consistently fantastic.

Mission Report:

Now that we are great friends with the folks at Raymond Burr Vineyards, additional surveillance or infiltration is not necessary. Now that they have been recruited into The Wine Spies Network, they contact us through back-channels when they have a special allocation of our Operatives..

No new mission report today, so please read below for a recap of our initial mission to Raymond Burr Vineyards.

Please note that we enjoyed today’s featured 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon even more than the Cabernet Franc that we featured previously

Prior Mission Recap:

Ask anyone to describe Raymond Burr in a single word and, resoundingly, you will likely hear, Classy.

The veteran actor, for whom today’s winery was honorarily named, was also a cultivator of orchids, a war hero, a philanthropist and more. Most of all, he was cherished and loved by his close friends, who say that his warmth, humor and compassion made him a remarkable man.

When I was given the mission – finally – to seek out a new Cabernet Franc, I riffled through my mental Rolodex and recalled hearing great things about a Cab Franc from Raymond Burr Winery. In fact, it was in the most unusual way that I had come to hear of the wine in the first place.

On returning from a mission to Latin America, our flight got in to Miami too late to make our connecting flight back to California. the airline put us up in a swanky hotel and the next morning we found ourselves in a shuttle back to the Airport. I struck up a conversation with a young couple who were also on our inbound flight and, as always, I steered the conversation toward wine. We compared tastes in varietals and found that Cab Franc wines were among our very favorites. We traded recommendations and they assured me that Raymond Burr had a wine that I would be sure to love.

Now that I was finally assigned a Cab Franc mission I knew just where to go, so I called proprietor and long time companion to Mr. Burr, Robert Benevides. I used the direct approach and told him that I was very interested in sampling his wine and, if they passed the test, feature his Cabernet Franc here for our Operatives to enjoy.

I enjoyed this exceptional wine more with each sip. With enough time to stretch out in the air, the wine really opens up and loses the rough edges present on opening. For best results, decant the wine for a few hours – and enjoy at cellar temperature.

Aromas, flavors, acid and mouth-feel are all in harmony here and the finish is really very unique. If you love incredible Cabernet Franc, look no further Operative, its right here.

Finally, I remember hearing a story about Mr. Burr that sums up his life and his wines: While working with Errol Flynn, Flynn told Mr. Burr that if he died with ten dollars in his pocket he hadn’t done a good job. This inspired Mr. Burr to always share his wealth with all. His legacy lives on in today’s wine from Mr. Burr’s namesake winery.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Raymond Burr Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Silver Medal Winner – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, 2009

About This Wine:

“A full, solid, complex Cabernet. Rich, ripe, and earthy. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, chocolate and a hint of oak. Medium tanins with a long finish” - Phyllis Zouzounis, winemaker.

About The Winery:

Twelve years ago, Raymond Burr and I walked the rolling bench of Dry Creek Valley, the manzanita-covered foot of Bradford Mountain. Our dream took shape with the first plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1986, and now comes to fruition with this brilliantly-complex wine. Only 1,040 cases were produced which have rested for 18 months in oak barrels before being bottled in November of 1992. I release this vintage in tribute to his vision and impeccable taste.
-Robert Benevides

Thus, the back label of the 1990 Raymond Burr Cabernet Sauvignon the premier vintage of this vineyard.

Raymond Burr and Robert Benevides had met, as professional actors, in the middle 1950s on the television program which was to make a legend of Burr, “Perry Mason.” Motivated in the beginning by friendship, the Burr/Benevides relationship was bolstered and advanced by their individual interest in, and knowledge of, the cultivation and hybridization of orchids. In the next several years this shared hobby began to grow until the obvious resolution was to make it a commercial venture. And so, Sea God Nurseries was born, becoming in the 20-odd years of its life an international presence with ranges in Fiji, Hawaii, the Azores Islands and in Southern California. During this period, the partnership was responsible for over 1,500 new orchids added to the world-wide catalogue.

The Winemaker:

Phyllis Zouzounis – Pioneer woman winemaker, Phyllis Zouzounis came to Raymond Burr Vineyards at the beginning of the 2006 grape harvest. The terraced hillside, along with the soil and temperatures of the Raymond Burr benchland estate enticed Phyllis to this special spot.

Phyllis is not new to the Dry Creek Valley. She began her winemaking career working at Dry Creek Vineyard in 1980. After 15 years of experience there she moved on as winemaker and general manager of another Dry Creek winery just down the road, Mazzocco Vineyards. In 1987 Phyllis and her partner, Jim Penpraze, started their own Dry Creek winery, Deux Amis, making award winning Zinfandels.

Zouzounis believes grapes grown in the Dry Creek Valley can produce high quality wines. The 100% estate grown vineyards at Raymond Burr offer her the challenge to produce great Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and rich, fruity Chardonnay. “Great wine starts in the vineyard with quality grapes. The Raymond Burr vineyard is a good example of this,” she will tell you. “Because it is an estate vineyard winery, this allows Raymond Burr Vineyards to create and preserve the quality in the vineyard first and then follow through to the finished wine.”

Phyllis Zouzounis is a great believer in balance. “My focus is balance. Balance of the vine, balance of the fruit and balance in the wine.”

Technical Analysis:

Varietals: 85% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Estate Cabernet Franc

Production: 564 cases were originally produced

Alcohol: 14.7% by volume

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