Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: ****+ $$$ Ridgeline Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, CA, 2005

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By way of background: Sonoma County's Alexander Valley creates some classic cabernet sauvignons, offering showing a bright palate in front of intense fruit and tannins.  The grapes for this cabernet sauvignon were grown at Ridgeline Vineyards, estate vineyard property at the north end of the Mayacamas mountain range; a steeply angled vineyard that looms high above the Alexander Valley floor. Ridgeline Vineyards is composed of six unique vineyard blocks at elevations ranging from 400- 1700 feet.

Initial review : This is Ridgeline Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, CA, 2005, finished at 14.6% alcohol. Along with the 94% cabernet sauvignon are added 3.5% merlot, 2% cabernet franc and .5% malbec.  The resulting wine was aged over two years in half new French oak.

In the glass: Deep burgundy, opaque to within a half inch of the edge of the glass.  Still glints of purple there. 

On the nose: Poured cool from a magnum bottle with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows a luscious, aromatic deep cabernet fruit, with distinct overtones of mentholated cocoa.  From the aroma, seems like this will be intense and deeply fruit forward, with solid layers. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much as anticipated.  A big, round, mid-palate fruit greets your first sip.  It shows classic deep black currant and some softer chocolate notes.  Immediately thereafter you notice the nice balance of tannins and acids.... the tannins gripping your cheeks and the acids slightly brightening the entire experience.  The finish is flowing with deep lush blackberry, held secure with the softening tannins that bring a slowly fading, yet incredibly clean finish that disappears slowly to a whisper.

In summary: Overall, classic, balanced and gorgeous Sonoma cabernet experience that  rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for this exceptional balance.  Not a value-priced wine, but a considered a "good buy" because of the strong rating. 

Following long decant, five hours at room temperature in wide-bottomed decanter:  Consistent nose, although now showing more spicy and sweet in character.  Round chocolate fruit and combined tannin/acid grip are still the primary components of the sip.  Held up very well to the decanting time. 

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