Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jeff Gordon Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

If you are racing to buy a good wine to pair with a steak, make a pit stop with NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon.  When he's not turning left at 200 mph, he oversees his California wine outfit, Jeff Gordon Cellars.  His Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 will have your meal taking the checkered flag, assuming your tires are good and nothing under the hood blows up.

The grapes for this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon come from two vineyards at opposite ends of the Napa Valley.  Stagecoach Vineyards in the Atlas Peak area features rocky, volcanic soil while Corbett Vineyard is on a hillside in Spring Mountain, just north of St. Helena.  Both vineyards are at an elevation of about 1,000 feet.  A hard frost in the 2008 vintage reduced the crop size, but what was left, as Spencer Tracy said, "was cherce."

Grapes from the two vineyards were fermented separately, then blended.  According to the winemaker notes, a gentle crush, a two-day cold soak, punchdowns and pumpovers enabled winemakers August "Joe" Briggs and his nephew Jesse Inman to craft a wine with "maximum extraction from the skins without harsh tannins."

On the nose are roses, blackberries, plums, rosemary and oak spices of vanilla and cigars.  Take a sip, and it gets all elegant up in here.  Graceful notes of black plum, black currant, spice, a great acidity and a good tannic structure that doesn't try to push you into the wall.  That rocky hillside soil really shines through.  The finish, naturally, is a winner.


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