Pine Ridge Vineyards
2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
At it’s recession busting price, today’s exceptional wine represents an incredible value
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an exceptional wine with exceptional character. If you are a fan of classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, then this wine belongs in your collection.
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Mission Codename: Return to the Ridge
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Pine Ridge vineyards and secure the remaining stash of there revered Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – just in time for Holiday imbibing
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Pine Ridge Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Michael Beaulac
Backgrounder: Earlier this year, a Pine Ridge Vineyards Cabernet became our most popular wine of all time. Today we are pleased to bring you another Pine Ridge Cabernet. This one, their Napa Valley Cab, an extraordinary wine at an extraordinary price!
Napa Valley is revered worldwide as the ultimate area in which to produce Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2006 vintage, in particular, has produced the best examples on record. Today we send Agent Red back to Pine Ridge Vineyards to investigate reports of their amazing ’06 Napa Cab. Read his tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with concentrated color right out to the edge of the glass. The wine shows a slightly darker heart but with perfect clarity. When swirled, this wine appears to have a heavy surface that settles quickly leaving behind skinny and tightly-spaced legs that move very slowly down the walls of the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic, with rushes of dark blackberry, blueberry and stonefruit, followed by red cherry, raspberry, mocha, dusty bramble, vanilla and soft oaky spice
Feel – Velvet smooth, round and supple on entry. Then, quickly grippy at the mid-palate where it coats the mouth, dries the cheeks and lips, introducing a delightful drying chalky minerality that makes the mouth water
Taste – brightly layered with flavors of cherry, blackberry, raspberry and soft red plum. These sit lovingly atop espresso, soft oak, dark chocolate, bramble, soft spice and mild minerals
Finish – An evolving finish that starts bright with big red fruits that slowly go darker as stonefruit and minerals are revealed
Conclusion – We have come to expect greatness from Pine Ridge Vineyards, and this wine reinforces our belief that PRV’s wines are always a delicious and elegant delight. Showing off great Napa fruit, this wine is a delicious treat that delivers on flavor, structure and beautiful aromatics. A food-friendly wine as well, this is a perfect companion for most solid meals. It has enough brightness and acidity to play well with lighter fare as well, and we love it as a solo-sipper, too! Be sure to stock up for your holiday entertaining, or give a few bottles as a gift.
Agent Red caught up with Michael Beaulac recently. What follows is a transcript of their conversation about today’s great wine from Pine Ridge Vineyards:
AGENT RED: Greetings, Michael. We are thrilled to be showing Pine Ridges stupendous 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today. The wine is really fantastic. Thanks so much for the wine, and for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MICHAEL BEAULAC: My great pleasure to be with you, again, Red.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MICHAEL: I had a bottle of Jean Gros Vosne-Romanee and realized what a very good bottle of wine could taste like.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
MICHAEL: The school of hard knocks, started as a cellar rat and worked my way up!
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
MICHAEL: Elegance is the key. A wine should have velvet tannins that cover the palate and once swallowed should linger for several seconds
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MICHAEL: Christain Mouiex
RED: How long have you been making wine?
MICHAEL: 21 harvests
RED: Who do you make wine for?
MICHAEL: Consumers, there is nothing better than to be in a restaurant and
seeing someone enjoying a bottle that I made .
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
MICHAEL: Napa is THE perfect place to grow grapes. The warm , sunny days followed by the cool nights lets the grapes ripe n with the right balance of flavor, sugar and acidity.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
MICHAEL: Just go for it. Everyone is so helpful in this business.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MICHAEL: Getting my Dijon Clone Chardonnay and Le Petit Clos Chardonnay ready for bottling.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
MICHAEL: This fruit for this wine is selected across our 225 acres of
estate vineyards in the many sub-appellations in the Napa Valley – Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford and more. So it’s your classic Napa Valley Cabernet, crafted in the balanced style that we’re known for. It has beautiful aromas of blueberry, red cherry and raspberry with accents of coffee bean, spicy bramble and caramel. The palate is equally inviting, opening with fresh, sweet dark berry and baked cherry fruit before the tannins take hold and carry you through to the long finish where you’ll get some deeper tones of black tea, briar and toasty oak. To get the most of this wine, decant it for 30 minutes to allow it to open up to its best flavors.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
MICHAEL: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Walnuts and Wild Rice from our
winery chef Eric Maczko. Check out our website www.pineridgevineyards.com for a collection of recipes from chef Eric!
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
MICHAEL: I could tell you, but then I’d have to, well, you know.
RED: Fair enough! Tell me, what is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
MICHAEL: For summertime, our delicious Chardonnay, and for winter, our classic Napa Valley Cabernet
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
MICHAEL: Always remember that the wine is made in the vineyard and should show its place of origin. Even more importantly, wine is about sharing with friends and family – don’t over-think it.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
MICHAEL: Petrus. I love Bordeaux wines – one of the reasons I am
working at Pine Ridge. They were founded on this style of wine and we continue to craft wines that have great balance.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
MICHAEL: What do you like best about your job? I have the best job in the world. I get to make wine in the most prestigious grape growing area of the world, Napa Valley, and I then get to share and enjoy that wine with everyone I meet.
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!
MICHAEL: My pleasure. Thanks for being a fan of our wines.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Pine Ridge Vineyards winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
A dense ruby hue hints at the intensity of this young, bright wine. Aromas of blueberry, red cherry and raspberry are accented by darker notes of coffee bean, spicy bramble and hints of caramel. The palate is equally inviting, opening with fresh, sweet dark berry and baked cherry fruit before the firm tannins take hold and carry the long finish through deeper tones of black tea, briar and toasty oak. Decant for 30 minutes to allow this youthful wine to open up to its best flavors.
ORIGIN: Since our founding in 1978, we have proudly produced appellation Cabernets that showcase the unique character of the region and our estate vineyards within them. After 20 years working with these vineyards, winemaker Stacy Clark selected individual lots from across the distinct AVAs to craft a wine that represents the ultimate essence of Napa Valley.
VINEYARDS: The majority of this blend is from our estate vineyards of Dos Olivos in Oakville and Rutherford Ridge, Andrus, Manley Lane and Circle Hill in Rutherford. Close spacing and a strict regimen of fruit-dropping and de-leafing enhanced the bright berry flavors of the Oakville Fruit and Rutherford’s signature “dust” characteristics, both evident in the finished wine.
HARVEST AND WINEMAKING: The 2006 vintage started out slow, with rain and cool spring temperatures making for a late budbreak, but a warm summer and moderate fall allowed the grapes to catch up quickly. Harvest began in October, a bit on the late side, but the wait was worth it for the intense flavors that resulted. This wine was sorted with an intensive process of cluster selection then berry selection before crushing. Extended maceration of 31 to 36 days on the skins created the rich mouthfeel. The wines were transferred to new and one-year old French oak barrels where they aged for 14 months before being bottled in June 2008.
FOOD PAIRING: Though powerful, this wine is classically balanced and easy to pair with food. It will brighten braised and rich dishes like osso bucco or buttery roasted chicken but has the tannin to pair beautifully with grilled meats and aged cheeses. As it ages, try it with more delicate dishes like mushroom risotto or high-grade tuna.
About The Winery:
What does it take to make a world-class wine? Before setting out to make one of our own, we asked ourselves this fundamental question. Looking to the most esteemed winegrowing districts of France for our answer, we found that the greatest of the great embrace three principles: pride of ownership, profound stewardship of the land, and a relentless dedication to quality. These values were already reflected in our vineyard management and our winemaking-in our dense plantings, meticulous pruning, and hand harvesting; in our artistic blending and careful selection of coopers—but our goal was to surpass our best.
Building on the groundwork laid by the founders, we set out with ardor and high aims for our vineyards, our winery, and our wines. We would care for every vine as if it were our only vine and design a grape reception and sorting process second to none. Within a year of starting, we rebalanced the vines and completely revamped our grape-handling procedures. Every vintage since has been testament to the success of our viticultural and enological pursuits.
About The Winemaker:
I look forward to working with the seasoned team here to continue to produce classically proportioned wines that are the hallmark of Pine Ridge. – Michael Beaulac, winemaker
After a long and thorough search to find the successor to a winemaking history dating back to 1978 when the winery was founded, Michael Beaulac has been appointed Winemaker and General Manager at Pine Ridge Vineyards. Inheriting the role shaped by Stacy Clark for over 25 years, brings his expertise in winemaking with an emphasis on Bordeaux varietals from his eight years as winemaker at St. Supery Vineyards and Markham Vineyards prior to that.
“Pine Ridge has a tremendous portfolio of outstanding wines that capture the essence of our exceptional estate vineyards.” says President and CEO of the Crimson Wine Group, Erle Martin. “Stacy was instrumental in bringing the winery to where it is today, and we are excited to now have Michael on board to build off of our legacy and usher Pine Ridge into a new and exciting era. “
In his new role, Michael will oversee all grape growing and winemaking operations as well as facilities management at our winery. “With the winery’s exceptional reputation and collection of estate vineyards, this position is a winemaker’s dream. I look forward to working with the seasoned team here to continue to produce classically proportioned wines that are the hallmark of Pine Ridge,” says Michael.
Varietals: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Aging Potential: 10 to 15 years