Grgich Hills Estate
2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Grown
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Grgich Hills Estate is truly an exemplary Cabernet Sauvignon. At today’s one-day-only price, it is a true steal on a wine that not only is delicious but also organic and BioDynamic.
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Mission Codename: The Ballad of the Black Beret
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit our friends at Grgich Hills Estate to acquire their delicious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Grgich Hills Estate
Wine Subject: 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
Backgrounder: In 1976, Mike Grgich rocked the wine world by creating a California that beat out French Chardonnays in the now famous Judgment of Paris. The French were outraged, and Mike Grgich earned the respect of wine drinkers and critics, worldwide. Today, Mike continues to oversee production of what have been heralded as “the finest wines in the world”. We are very proud to be able to bring you today’s fantastic Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet and purple with a dark almost inky core that reflects hints of ruby when held to the light. Along the edges, the color lightens just slightly to a dark ruby and when swirled, clusters of thin but colored legs descend to the wine below.
Smell – Medium-bold in intensity with classic dark fruit interfaced with spice, dried herbal bramble, a touch of toasted oak and dark cocoa. Hints of floral rose petals and black olive adds to the complex and very appealing and inviting nose.
Feel – Boldly structured but also smooth, this dry full-bodied wine shows super-fine firm tannins and extremely well balanced acidity that softens as this wine opens.
Taste – A rich array of brooding dark fruit including blackberry, black cherry, plum and cassis are well integrated with earthy undertones, cedar and spice. Black peppercorn and licorice flavors, also emerge and are layered over black olive, smoky toast and hints of dark chocolate cocoa.
Finish – Mouthwatering, this clean but well structured wine lingers with flavors of its rich dark fruit, spicy pepper and earth over its finely grained tannins.
Conclusion – The 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a slightly bigger, more powerful and intense than many of the Cabs we’ve tasted from the same vintage. The great spice, herbal notes and rich dense fruit make this wine perfect for richer meats or bolder kitchen creations. Enjoy this wine now or cellar for up to ten years, if you can hold out that long.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
DATE OF BIRTH: April 1st, 1923
PLACE OF BIRTH: Desne, in Croatia’s coastal Dalmatian region
WINE EDUCATION: Attended University of Zagreb. Field of study, viticulture and enology
CALIFORNIA WINERIES EXPERIENCE: Christian Brothers Cellars, Souverain Winery, Robert Mondavi and Beaulieu Vineyard (with André Tchelistcheff)
FOUNDED NAMESAKE WINERY: Grgich Hills Cellar, founded 1977, renamed to Grgich Hills Estate in 2006
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To, “… year after year, is to improve the quality of [the] vineyards and [the] wines” and to, “… remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity”.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Chardonnay
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: In 1976, Mike Grgich’s Chateau Montelena Chardonnay won the infamous Judgement of Paris tasting, to become the best Chardonnay in the world. The fact that a California wine won the tasting shocked the wine world – and spurned Mr. Grgich on to great success with his own winery
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: On March 7, 2008, in recognition of his impact and contribution to the wine industry, Mr. Grgich was inducted into the Vintner Hall of Fame. The honor coincided with his 50th vintage of winemaking in the Napa Valley
GRGICH QUOTE: “For years, everybody in the world believed that only French soils could produce great wines. We shattered that myth. That was probably the most significant result of the Paris tasting. Our victory pumped new energy into the California wine industry, particularly in the Napa Valley.”
BLACK BERET: Mr. Grgich wears an ever present black beret. It is rumored that the beret is imbued with magical energies that power his winemaking talents. Further investigation is required…
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Grgich Hills Estate can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
92 Points – Wine Spectator – “Savory herb and ripe currant, berry and plum aromas are firm and intense. Full-bodied and well-structured, with the tannins gaining traction on the finish. Rustic but balanced. Best from 2010 through 2016.”
About This Wine:
The long, cool growing season produced an elegant wine with aromas of black fruit and licorice with a touch of black pepper on the finish. Nicely balanced between acid, fruit and tannin, this wine is the perfect partner with roasted beef, cured ham or creamy cheeses. All of the grapes were grown at our estate vineyards, which were farmed using organic and Biodynamic® principles.
We fermented the grapes using only yeasts that naturally occur on the grapes and allowed the wine to gain favors and color from extended skin contact. We aged each lot separately for several months, and then created a blend that is more complex than the individual parts. After blending, the wine spent another year and half in barrel for these different components to completely harmonize before bottling.
The consistently cool and even ripening of the grapes produced an elegant wine with aromas of black fruit and licorice with a touch of black pepper on the finish. Nicely balanced between acid, fruit and tannin, this wine is the perfect partner with roasted beef,
cured ham or creamy cheeses.
Vintage: The 2005 vintage benefted from a long, cool growing season. The year began with heavy rains, and then a spell of 80-degree weather in early March triggered budbreak. The generally cool summer allowed the grapes to ripen smoothly and completely, without any major heat spikes to confuse them.
Vineyard: Our Yountville vineyard forms the back-bone of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with our Rutherford and Calistoga vineyards rounding out the blend. All vineyards were farmed following organic and Biodynamic® principles. This holistic farming practice uses the earth’s cycles and natural preparations to grow balanced, healthy vines without artifcial fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. The result is a full-bodied, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon with pure favors and a pronounced sense of place.
About The Winery:
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen Mike’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellar. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they gave birth to Grgich Hills. It was an ideal partnership. Austin owned premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and with his extensive background in business, he put the winery on its financial feet. Mike, with his fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality, began producing what immediately became our signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex Chardonnays that win awards and delight wine lovers across America and throughout the world.
Today, we remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity. We are proud that world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand chose our wines to serve at state dinners, but we are just as proud that every single day discriminating wine drinkers count on Grgich Hills to turn their own dinners into special occasions.
As always, we treat each of our six different wines as a special child, carefully nurturing their development and character. Our main pride and joy is our Chardonnay, an elegant example of the varietal displaying rich flavors and exquisite balance. As a complement to the Chardonnay, we also produce a refreshingly crisp Fumé Blanc, a rich and spicy Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon with tremendous depth and complexity, a lush and richly fragrant Merlot, and a luscious dessert wine named “Violetta,” in honor of Mike’s daughter, Violet.
Now 85 years old, and still sporting his signature blue beret, Mike was inducted into the Vinter Hall of Fame in March 2008 in honor of his many contributions to the wine industry. While many other Napa wineries pursue strategies of expansion, Mike, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, prefer to stay small. Their aim, year after year, is to improve the quality of their vineyards and their wines, relying on Mike’s unique artistic and intuitive touch. This strategy continues to pay significant dividends. Many wineries buy their grapes from outside vineyards. Grgich Hills now owns all of its own vineyards, all of which are certified organic and Biodynamic. Beginning with the 2003 vintage, all Grgich Hills wines are labeled “Estate Grown.” This guarantees a consistently superior level of quality, and it guarantees that Grgich Hills will remain a shining symbol of prestige and good taste. In recognition of that important milestone, the winery changed its name in 2007 to Grgich Hills Estate.
Total acidity: 6.0 g/L
Fermentation: Indigenous yeast. 5 weeks of skin contact
Aging: 21 months in French oak, 60% new.
Harvest dates: October 7-22, 2005
Brix at harvest: 25.3º
Varietal blend: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot.
Bottling date: July 30, 2007