Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The 2004 Sequia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

This bottle was sent to me by the Kobrand Corporation, the wine and spirit importer and distributor. When I received it, I became curious about the wine as I realized that I had never visited the Sequoia Grove winery, although it is right on Highway 29, just 1 mile north of Rutherford.

Family-founded in 1980 on the site of an 1850 farmhouse, Sequoia Grove is named for the grove of giant redwood trees that surround the winery. Today, this boutique winery produces small quantities of premium wines and specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon.

Michael Trujillo is the winery’s longtime winemaker. “In my winemaking I strive for balance and varietal character to come through,” says Michael of his winemaking philosophy on the winery website. “I don’t get carried away with the big, high-alcohol wine trend that influences much of the industry today. I strive for richness and balance from start to finish. This is the way I make wine.”

Under new ownership, the winery has recently upgraded its winemaking facility with state-of-the-art fermenters and processing equipment. A completely subterranean cellar —the first in the Valley— maintains a year-round temperature of 58°F. The fruit is sourced from the winery's estate vineyard in Rutherford as well as from renowned Napa growers such as Gary Morisoli, Andy Beckstoffer, and others.

The grapes for the 2004 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley were sourced from Rutherford (50%), Oakville (30%), Atlas Peak (15%), and Napa (5%). The wine is pure Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in American oak (38% new) for 18 months. It has a deep inky color and an engaging nose of black fruit and licorice. On the palate, it is concentrated without being jammy, with substantial tannins, some good acidity, and notes of vanilla and mint on the finish. Overall, I find it rather well balanced for such a young wine, although I would cellar it for at least 5 more years, but that's my personal taste. In the meantime, decant it for at least 1 hour and enjoy it with grilled ribeye steaks with Mediterranean rub and oven wedge fries.

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