What We Say 2006 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
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Mission Codename: The Lion Roars at midnight
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Wine Spies Operative favorite, Adobe Road Winery, to retrieve their award-winning 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from the famous Bavarian Lion Vineyard in Knights Valley
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Adobe Road Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley, Bavarian Lion Vineyard
Winemaker: Michael Scorsone
Backgrounder: Knights Valley AVA, along highway 128 is located in Sonoma County at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains and next to Napa County. It is a small 55 square miles with about 1000 acres under vine. The gravel and rock soil and higher relative altitude is most influential to the exceptional Cabernet that grows there. The rustic and rural region is well known for its traditional northern California style.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and inky garnet in color with a slightly opaque, inky heart. The wine maintains deeply concentrated color out to the edges of the glass, where the edges show as pretty ruby hues. On swirling, this wine shows a tight and fast-moving surface. When it settles, it leaves behind skinny legs that start high up on the glass
Smell – Dark and lush, with dark layers of earthy ripe blackberry, dark blueberry, smoky black cherry and soft toasted oak. These sit softly atop softer notes of dried and smoked meats, soft cedar, clove, anise, and dried leaf notes
Feel – Light weight, soft and wet up front, then softly grippy and mouth-coating across the mid-palate. After a few moments, fine-grained tannins show make a gradual appearance, drying the cheeks and lips
Taste – Delicious and tender, balanced and evenly split between dark fruit and an earthen heartiness. The wine leads with dark black stonefruit and dark mixed berries. These are followed by an under-layer of woodsy flavors with leaves, dusky dark cherry, soft oak, dark chocolate, dried meats and soft spice
Finish – Medium-long, starting with soft flavors which linger for a time before they begin to fade gradually. The wine begins dark and fruity, then tails off with smoky mixed berries, forest floor and a very subtle hint of oak
Conclusion – This single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from our old friends at Adobe Road is a real delight. We have had the great pleasure to experience wines from the unique Bavarian Lion vineyard, and Adobe’s interpretation stands as tall as the rest, with it’s own unique character. This wine is a unique Cabernet Sauvignon, with plenty of classic Cab character. Present, also, is an overall experience that can only be had from wines from the Knight’s Valley in Northern Sonoma County. This wine delivers an experience that one might find in Napa/Sonoma Cab blend. Perhaps this is due to the vineyards proximity to Napa County. The wines rich aromatics suggest a wine that is big and bold, but on the palate, you discover that it shows a certain softness that is not what the nose might have suggested. In all, the personality of the wine is a balanced – and delicious one that our tasting panel really enjoyed.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Michael Scorsone
DATE OF BIRTH: 9/77
PLACE OF BIRTH: Pennyslvania
WINE EDUCATION: Culinary Institute of America and Napa College
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Adobe Road, Turley, Failla, Neyers
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Let the wines show character and personality. A strong sense of vineyard location. Show tradition…but not afraid to take chances. Don’t make the wine into something it’s not.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Having the opportunity to work with Adobe Road and also all the traveling that I’ve done in my career.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Michael. We are honored to be showing your 2006 Knights Valley Cabernet Franc today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MICHAEL: Thanks, Red. It’s good to be showing another wine with The Wine Spies!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MICHAEL: Growing up in an Italian family where food and wine is very important, my travels to old world wine regions and working in the fields in Italy.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
MICHAEL: I’m always learning something new and always expanding my knowledge.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
MICHAEL: “Hands off”, non-invasive approach and letting the wine show its personality.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MICHAEL: Ted Lemon from Littorai because he’s an excellent wine maker and farmer. He is one of the few winemakers who does it all.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
MICHAEL: Ever since I was a little boy, I helped my dad make his wine.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
MICHAEL: Myself, our customers – and the Adobe Road wine team
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WINEMAKER: The wine is very focused on balanced and seamless on the palate and very sweet tannins. Wines from this region consistently show great depth and are very well received by the press. They stand alone and a sense of place next to their neighbor, Napa Valley.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WINEMAKER: Because it is mushroom season, black chanterelles with a peppered hanger steak would pair perfectly with this wine.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Knight’s Valley so special?
WINEMAKER: We are always very excited about any of the wines that come from Knights Valley. It’s a small, unknown region that has high yield and small concentrated fruit. The Bavarian Lion vineyard is sort of tucked away and has its own micro-climate.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: I’m babysitting malolactic fermentation and blending and tasting the ‘08’s for bottling in the near future.
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: Thanks, very much, Agent Red! Cheers!
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Wine Spectator – “Complex and inviting, with a generous mix of ripe plum, black cherry and berry fruit that’s supple, balanced, deep and persistent, picking up a nice black licorice note. There’s wonderful persistence on the finish, with firm, integrated tannins. Drink now through 2015.” – Jim Laube, Wine Spectator 10-7-09
About This Wine:
Winemaking: Picked in early morning. All natural yeast fermintation with extended maceration to enhance extraction. Aged in a balance of French and American Oak for 24 months. Bottled unfiltered and unfined.
About The Winery:
Adobe Road Winery is owned by renowned sportscar racer and entrepreneur Kevin Buckler and his wife, Debra. Adobe Road Winery produces award winning Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Zinfandel and Dessert Wines exclusively from Sonoma and Napa County sources. The tasting room is located in Petaluma, California. In 1995 Kevin founded The Racer’s Group (TRG) and grew it into an internationally prominent manufacturer and distributor of performance Porsche parts, while simultaneously building a career as a successful endurance sportscar racer and team owner. Kevin’s accomplishments as a driver include class wins at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (2002) and the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans (2002), an overall win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (2003), and the title of Porsche World Cup Champion in 2002. As a team owner, Kevin has directed the growth of The Racer’s Group into an internationally-acclaimed racing team.
With friends, the Bucklers started making “garage wine” which, after prodding from enthusiastic friends, started commercially bottling under the Adobe Road label in 1999. Through Kevin’s good connections, he has acquired grapes from some very prestigious vineyards, which he handcrafts into extremely limited-production wines. The awards have followed. With the goal of producing exceptional wines by hand-crafting small lots of red varietals exclusively from Sonoma and Napa Counties, the Bucklers have dedicated themselves to seeing their vision through to reality, and the results are paying off.
Barrel Aging: 24 months in French and American oak
Release: October 2009
Bottled: May 2009
Production: 1250 cases