2007 Cabernet

Wine Review | Blackstone Winery | 2007 Sonoma Reserve | Merlot Rubric Cabernet

Blackstone Winery Sonoma Reserve Merlot 2007, Sonoma Countywine label

The blend: 85% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Ruby Cabernet and 2% Petite Verdot

Alcohol: 14.5%

Production: 27,000 cases

Suggested Retail Price: $20

The grapes for this wine were sourced from vineyards in 6 out of the 13 A.V.A’s in Sonoma County, predominantly Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley.  This wine is a powerful representation of what Merlot can be.  It’s a big Merlot, not for the faint of heart.  The fruit is decent but it takes significant decanting to really be enjoyed.   After only an hour of decanting I found the alcohol to be quite dominant.  The next day after some of the alcohol had evaporated off I was able to enjoy the fruity side of this wine.  The fruit is predominantly Cherry enveloped in a layer of toasty oak.

Blackstone Winery  Sonoma Reserve, Rubric 2007Rubric label

The Blend: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Tannat, 5% Merlot and 3% Petite Sirah.

Alcohol: 14.5%

Production: 7,000 cases

Suggested Retail Price: $22

The fruit for this wine was sourced from 4 vineyards located in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Valley and Alexander Valley.  The wine was aged in seasoned French Oak for 20 months.

On the nose I detected a light tobacco aroma, the palate was quite interesting with a mix of caramel and coffee.  Although the blend is reminiscent of Bordeaux blends, the wine is definitely more of the California Meritage style.  Higher alcohol and riper fruit dominate this wine once again and I would recommend decanting.

Blackstone Winery Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Sonoma County2007 Sonoma reserve Cabernet

The Blend: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec

Alcohol: 14.5%

Production: 17,000 cases

Suggested Retail Price: $20

This wine was by far my favorite of the three.  The nose is subdued but you will find hints of spicy oak and chocolate.  The palate is where this wine really shines.  Classic Sonoma Cabernet fruit.  This wine reminds me a lot of Cameron Hughes Lot 140 from Chalk Hill Sonoma.  Plummy and juicy with lighter tannins than many Napa valley Cabernet’s.  I decanted this wine for an hour before tasting which was sufficient, unlike the other two wines this one does not need significant decanting.  Of the three wines tasted here I would put this one as the best value and worthy of spending the $20 on.

*disclaimer* These wines were received as samples

Cameron Hughes, Lot 164, 2007 Napa Valley Rutherford Cabernet

The Technicals:

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol: 14.5%

Production: 650 Cases

From the company literature:  “Black center with dark reddish rim; beautiful nose of violets and crushed stone fruits, most notably black cherries.  Full bodied…outstanding overall structure and balance with fine tannins, subtle and well-integrated.  Gobs of black cherry and old-world complexities flesh out the mid-palate…finishes smooth with notes of that classic Rutherford dust.”

Cameron Hughes sourced this wine from a “very famous” wine-maker from Rutherford who had intended this for his $85 program but the economic conditions called for a change of plans.  Lucky for me, and for you-dear reader.

I bought it with my own hard-earned money for $18.70 off the Cameron Hughes Website and had it shipped to Arizona.  The shipping was prompt, the wines were properly packaged, and nothing was broken.  The wine is only available on the website.

I got home from work a little after 4 in the afternoon and opened the bottle poured half in the decanter.  I paced around the house waiting, typed the title to this post and then I had to have  a sniff and a sip.

Right away, I thought to myself  “Wow I think the wine is actually black”  It was sitting next to the kettle…

I picked up on the “Beautiful nose of violets”   and a hint of cherry and plum. This after only being decanted for about 10 minutes.  I took a sip…

Yea!  It had been raining all day in Phoenix and I suddenly felt a ray of sunshine burst through the clouds and hit me in the forehead. Full bodied? Absolutely.  Lots of black cherry on the palate, and SUPER smooth.  I mean flawlessly smooth.  Surgical grade smoothness.  The wine is still young, and tannic, squeaky teeth tannins but very rich with concentrated fruit.

So then I had to run a few errands.  I always do things this way:  Come home, open the “serious” wine, then go back out and run errands while it breathes.  While I drive around in rush hour traffic salivating thinking of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  So I went to the Mercado, which is about a mile away and I could still taste the wine in my mouth when I arrived, even though I had rinsed my mouth out before I left!  Ran a few errands, all in all it took about an hour, came back and poured a glass.

The nose had opened up a bit more, the “dusty” tannins were more present on the back end now, which I like.  This wine is still just a bit young for me, (imagine Randy from American Idol saying that)  for me, dog, it’s still just a bit young.  But give it time and this wine will blow your mind.  It will blow your mind that you paid twenty bucks for this.  In fact you’ll look like a genius.  I was thinking about that while I was on my errand trip, at Chase bank.  I was trying to figure out how I would word my request for a loan to buy a few dozen cases of this wine and a home improvement loan to build a cellar to store it.  But I knew the answer the second I walked in the door.

6 hours later this wine is still incredibly full bodied, it actually seems even bigger than before, like it’s still opening up and beginning to ignite.  It is a fiercely good wine.  I would recommend this to any wine drinker who says they like big monster California cabs but done with an uncommon elegance for something so powerful.

(Update)PART TWO:

I saved about 2 glasses of this wine for the next night.  It tasted every bit as good as the first night, if not better.  The pretty nose is still very present, and so is the smooth rich concentrated fruit.  I was sad when it was all gone 😦