2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Vineyards
California: Napa Valley: Oak Knoll District
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Mission Codename: The Lion’s Roar
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Ideology Cellars, where we previously procured their 2006 Oak Knoll Cab. This time around, secure their 2006 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for our Operative fans of Ideology
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Ideology Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Winemaker: Brian Graham
Backgrounder: The fruit for this wine come from Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District. Oak Knoll is located on the southern end of the valley and formally became a sub-appellation in 2004. With approximately 4000 acres under vine it is most influenced from a climate perspective by the cool breezes of the San Pablo Bay. Only Carneros (further south) is considered cooler. Being at the lower end of the valley it is lower in elevation and the soil is made up of fertile clay and silt loam. Read Red’s mission report and tasting notes, below, for the full intel on today’s great wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and deep garnet in color with a slightly purple and darker core. The deep coloring of this wine becomes more lilac-colored along the edges and, when swirled, the wine spins quickly, finally settling to leave behind a rapid cascade of fat legs that streak down the glass
Smell – Bold intensity with aromas of earthy cherry, blackberry underpinned by a base of smoky sweetwoods and soft exotic spices. As it opens up, the slightly perfumed nose reveals a hint of licorice and subtle fresh salad herbs
Feel – Round and broad on the initial attack, then plump and slightly gritty as medium tannins bite down, introducing a fat drying effect that gives the wine an intriguing texture
Taste – A delicious balance of earthly fruit with ripe tart cherry, blackberry and dark plum, against well integrated notes of earthiness of smoky cedar and soft spice
Finish – Long with lingering flavors of dark berries and earthen notes, supported by the wines plush tannins
Conclusion – The 2006 Ideology Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley shows off a classic Napa style, with great balance, deep fruit and a deliciously concentrated flavor that reminds us why Napa Cabs are king. If you love big and robust wines that also play well with food, this is a great wine to add to your cellar. Drinking beautifully now, this wine will only continue to develop beautifully for the next several years. We paired ours with a somewhat challenging food – and it held up beautifully. Chorizo tamales with fresh cilantro and tomato salsa was absolutely delicious with the wine, neither overpowering the other. In fact, they provided lovely support for the other. Decant this wine for 30 minutes or more, and be rewarded with more natural (authentic) fruits and a softer feel.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Brian Graham
DATE OF BIRTH: 7-24-72
PLACE OF BIRTH: Denton, TX
WINE EDUCATION: University of Bordeaux, Internships in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa Valley; Napa Valley College (Grape Growing)
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Merryvale, Napa Redwood Estate, Marshall Cellars, Ramian Estate; Consulting Projects
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Soft tannins concentrating on mid palate and mouth feel; while retaining as much elegance as possible.”
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Bordeaux Varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot, specifically
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: High Ratings on Cabernet Wines
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Any time my peers enjoy my wines
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “It’s really all about the vineyards”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Brian. We are thrilled to be showing your killer Estate Cabernet today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BRIAN: My pleasure, Agent Red! We love that your Operatives are such big fans of ours.
RED: Tell me, was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BRIAN: When I first started trying wines with my dad he opened a 1963 Dow that really changed everything for me. Even though I was still pretty young, this wine was so balanced, soft and amazing. It really opened my eyes.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
BRIAN: In Bordeaux and traveling Europe leaning how different wine regions create great wines with completely different adversities..
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
BRIAN: Soft tannins concentrating on mid palate and mouth feel; while retaining as much elegance as possible.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BRIAN: I love wines from my previous haunts!
RED: How long have you been making wine?
BRIAN: This is my 13th year now.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
BRIAN: Nothing makes me happier than someone saying “Wow that is really good” with a nice smile on their face.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
BRIAN: The Napa Valley has a amazing and unique advantage, it really does. People say that but it really is true. It can be 95 during the day but it will end up in the 50’s at night. Cool fog and a constant cool breeze from the ocean….it’s just amazing for wine grape growing.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
BRIAN: Internships, cannot do too many and do then if you can in many different walks of life even if you think that not a style you like. You will learn to appreciate them for at the very least what they are.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BRIAN: Bottling, Bottling, Bottling.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
BRIAN: It’s all Estate fruit from the Ideology Vineyard, 100%.we have many clones of Cabernet Sauvignon allowing us to blend at will these different wines to create a wine year in and year out the is true to our style and true to our passion.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BRIAN: I really like Elk or Venison. But of course you simply cannot go wrong with a great cut of rib eye. Let the meat and wine speak for themselves. Don’t over season them.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
BRIAN: I sold everything I owned (literally) and moved to France to lean to make wine.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
BRIAN: I have a few but I really like the house wines of Spain and Italy, as light as they can be, they still show amazing balance and character….Plus they are pretty cheap.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
BRIAN: With a smile and in a good mood.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
BRIAN: La Poja from Italy. It’s from and obscure grape and is absolutely delicious.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
BRIAN: Why do you only work with small batches of grapes and small wineries……Because I want to stay in touch with my wines, still use my hands and still be passionate about every single barrel of wine made.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans of your work.
BRIAN: I thank you, Red! I am happy to have The Wine Spies spread some covert intel on our great winery!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Silenus Vintners, where this wine is being poured daily, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
The fruit for this wine was harvested exclusively from our estate vineyard in Napa Valley. Cold soaked for four days prior to fermentation, barrel aged for 19 months in 100% French Oak, with minimal intervention, this voluptuous wine is classic in style while still showing its California heritage.
Formally educated in enology and winemaking at the University of Bordeaux, our winemaker, Brian Graham, worked and was mentored at Chateau Roquefort. He went on to further his studies at the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London, after which time he worked for a boutique winery in Burgundy, Domaine Serrigny-Jean-Pierre and Fils in Savigny-Les-Beaune. These two experiences gave him the foundation for creating balanced, terroir-driven wines that are meant to be original, complex and age-worthy.