Friday, December 3, 2010


Geyser Peak Cabernet 2005

Geyserville, California is a small town in Sonoma County - so small that if you run the stop sign, you'll miss it.  A lot of big trucks barrelling down the highway from Napa Valley do just that, too, so beware if you find yourself at that intersection.  For a small town, Geyserville has a lot of good wine to offer, too.

Geyser Peak Winery, an arm of Ascentia Wine Estates, makes some of that wine.  A recent trip to the Grill On Hollywood - four levels up in the labyrinth known as Hollywood and Highland in the somewhat larger town of Los Angeles - had me eying their Cabernet Sauvignon on the wine list.

We were there with a couple of Denise's old - uh, longtime - friends from the glory days at Lycoming College, a pretty little campus in Pennsylvania where they apparently dined on steamship of beef back in the student days, served from a carving station no less.  I went to Lamar University in Texas and dined on chips and sandwiches from a vending machine.  We used to sit around the Setzer Center and wonder what the rich people were doing.  Now I know.  Steamship of beef.

The Geyser Peak Cabernet would have fit right in at either locale, no doubt served in Riedel stemware next to the beef and swigged from the bottle by the vending machine.

Sonoma County's Alexander Valley is a great wine region, and Geyser Peak shows why.  It's a pretty darned good wine that is still considered a bargain - only $8.95 by the glass at the fancy Hollywood eatery.

The Geyser Peak Cab shows a pretty, dark color with purple edges.  The nose has plenty of cassis and blackberry notes while the palate has a plummy character with some strong blackberry fruit carrying just the right touch of oak effect.  There is some cedar and vanilla - neither overpowering - and an earthy edge with healthy tannins that were nicely held in check.

Despite all that, the wine is an uncomplicated experience, which is more than I can say about the stories of those bygone days with the steamship of beef.

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