2004 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Grown
California: Paso Robles
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Cass a giant shadow
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit our friends at Cass to retrieve a library vintage Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Cass Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemakers: Dan Kleck & Lood Kotze
Paso Robles, in California’s Southern Central Coast region (San Luis Obisbo County) is one of California’s oldest and also newest wine growing regions. The first vines were planted in the late 1700s by the Spanish missionaries. Paso’s unique climate, perhaps influences its vine more than any other area in California. The hot, dry weather that is only minimally effected by coastal fog and wine results in grapes that are more concentrated in flavor and intensity. This climate makes Paso uniquely suited to grow the big red varietals including Zinfandel, Syrah and as in this wine, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Today’s selection is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc with only 400 cases produced.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and intense purple and almost black with a dense inky heart that barely reflects its garnet hues. Along the edges, the color remains deep garnet and when swirled, slow fat legs hang for several seconds before slowly descending to the wine below.
Smell – Bold and redolent with aromas of black cherry, raspberry and other ripe black and red fruit. Notes of sweet oak and tobacco layer over herbal, licorice and fennel hints.
Feel – Smooth and rich, this full bodied wine coats the palate with its finely textured tannins and minerality creating a chewy character. Balanced acidity and a touch of spice grasps onto the tongue and keeps the fruit lingering long into the finish.
Taste – Rich and vibrant, this wine’s juicy and jammy black and red fruit (red and black cherry) lead the way as this wine’s expansive flavors explode on the palate. Subtle and complex notes of tobacco, earth and sweet oak are well integrated with spicy black pepper and herbal notes.
Finish – Extremely long with this wine’s vivid fruit lingering on the palate and supported by its firm but finely textured tannins, spice, and minerality. A hint of wild raspberry lingers and invites another sip of this bold and juicy wine.
Conclusion – The 2004 Cass Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon is bold and juicy, classic intense fruit-forward, in a way that defines the wines from Paso Robles. This wine is one that is enjoyed in big gulps and is a perfect crowd pleaser. A bright but balanced texture makes this wine great with food and we paired it with grilled beef fajitas.
Agent Red was able to sit down with Cass Winery’s winemaker, Lood Kotze, for a short interview when we last featured a great Cass wine. Here is a transcript of that conversation:
AGENT RED: Hi Lood!
LOOD KOTZE: Agent Red. Thanks for coming by.
RED: Is it always this hot here in Paso Robles?
LOOD: Not quite always, but, yes, it gets hot here.
RED: What effect does that have on the grapes – and the wines that are made from them?
LOOD: It’s hard to generalize about Paso Robles, but I would say that the wines from here are deeper and more concentrated. They are very rich, intense and strongly flavored. People love Paso wines for their accessibility. I think that wines from here are more universally appealing.
RED: Tell me, Lood, who do you make wines for?
LOOD: I tend to make wines that I personally like to drink. Luckily, that happens to match up with what fans of our wines also like!
RED: Good thing. I think that left to their own devices, some winemakers would end up making wines that only they like! Tell me, what would you say is your winemaking style?
LOOD: Well, I really believe that the terroir give the quality of a wine and the winemaker just maintains the quality. Great wine really begins in great vineyards. Starting with the best fruit, I tend to allow the wine to do its own thing with minimal input.
RED: Do you ever have to tweak a wine at all?
LOOD: Of course, but always in the most subtle ways possible. Really, the vineyard does most of the work, I just take care of the wine throughout the process.
RED: Before I let you go, please tell me what’s going on in the winery right now.
LOOD: Well, the vineyards are looking great, with shoots that are more than a foot long! In the winery, we just finished up with one round of bottling – and so now my focus is on our 2008’s.
RED: And, before you know it, harvest will be here!
LOOD: Don’t say that! We still have the summer and into the fall… but, yeah, before you know it, harvest will be here.
RED: Listen, I love Cass wines. The Rockin’ One is honestly the best Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre blend I have ever tasted.
LOOD: It is a great wine. Most blends of this style are usually reductive and austere. The Rockin’ One is way expressive and very delicious.
RED: It rocks!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Cass Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine
You may be surprised at the influence the Cabernet Franc has on this Cabernet. You may notice hints of fresh pencil shavings, unsmoked cigars, and macerated cherries. Drink this wine with Standing Rib Roast of Beef, Crusty Pan Seared Rib-Eye Steak, or Glazed Beef with Bourbon-Roquefort sauce.
Vinification: Cabernet Sauvignon clone 337 is a favorite on the central coast for its deep pigmentation and full bodied wines. Our vines are grown on the only hillside in the vineyard, and were ripened fully before harvest. This spot drains really well, stressing the vines and causing smaller berries and clusters, thus concentrating the fruit.
Fermentation was completed in 1 ½ ton open top fermenters
which were punched down by hand twice per day until fully dry. We barrel aged this wine for 23 months. The wine was left on the lees 16 months before the first racking.
About The Winery:
Cass Vineyards and Winery is located in the rolling, oak-studded hills between Paso Robles and Creston on California’s beautiful Central Coast. This area that the vineyard calls home offers quiet serenity for the visitor and a perfect growing season for wine grapes.
Sited due east of the “Templeton Gap”, we receive the evening’s cooling breezes that the west side of Paso Robles is noted for. We also rest far enough from the coast to generate the heat needed to optimally ripen the Rhone varieties grown in our vineyards.
One hundred percent of the wines crafted at Cass Winery are Estate Grown. Our vineyard surrounds our Tasting Room and winery. You can literally touch, taste, see and smell the grapes from the block where they were harvested.
The Tasting Room offers picnic fare and our chef prepares lunches daily 12-4pm at the Cass Café to enhance the feel of this special environment. Scenic paths lead to oak-shaded picnic areas for our visitors’ complete wine country sensory experience.
A unique feature of our wine making is that all of the Rhone grapes we grow are ENTAV certified. ENTAV (Establissement National Technique pour l’Amelioration de la Viticulture) is the national agency of France responsible for the quality of wine grape varieities. Over 90% of all French Vineyards are started with ENTAV certified plants and are only recently available in California. Consequently, these are among the very first wines made from ENTAV grapes grown here.
Varieties: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 337; 25% Cabernet Franc
Residual Sugar: 0.5 g/l
Fermentation Vessel: 70% Neutral Oak; 30% New French Oak
Harvested: Cabernet Sauvignon Sept 27th, 2004 at 26.0 brix; Cabernet Franc Sept 27th, 2005 at 25.0 brix
Bottled: August 2nd, 2006
Production: 322 cases