Three of us tasted this beauty, and all of us were stunned that a Cab this young (and inexpensive!) could possibly be this complex and delicious. Turns out there’s a reason: while it is indeed mostly Cab, it is in fact a beautiful blend.
In the U.S., a bottle of wine can be labeled as a varietal, i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, as long as it consists of 75% or more of that particular juice. This wine definitely wears the Cabernet mantle handsomely, but its complexity reveals that there’s a lot more going on than Cab. Sure enough, although the label says simply “Cabernet Sauvignon,” the tech sheet shows 79% Cab with 6% Alicante Bouschet, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 4% Syrah, 1% Carignan, and 1% Petite Sirah.
This beauty was ruby-garnet with pink edges. A few tiny wine crystals graced the glass.
The nose at first was a little spicy with a whiff or two hinting at rubber, which rapidly disappeared. One of the men remarked on smoke and black cherry as well. Its first impression gave way to what I could only describe as raspberry brittle, and we all agreed on vanilla, milk chocolate, and caramel. The second man present said, “It’s like Valentine’s Day—flowers and chocolate!”
Time to taste. Oh, yum! To me, at first it had a slight medicinal edge, but rapidly molasses, toasted oak, red raspberry, black cherry, and dark chocolate took over. With the second glass, threads of tea and orange meringue emerged, with layers of coffee and leather. This complex beauty had very soft tannins and not much perceived acidity. It was smooth, round, and well-balanced, with a lovely silky mouthfeel that expanded into a lingering yet gentle finish.
All of us enjoyed the feelings and associations we felt and remembered. As a woman, I was interested in not only the deep enjoyment but also the sheer respect the men showed toward this wine which I experienced as “pretty” and “feminine.” The memory of the whole evening makes me smile.
OUR CONCLUSION: We all agreed it was delicious, subtle, complex, and beautiful. A very sexy wine. Winemaking company “The Other Guys” slam-dunks it again. (See also http://
A lovely postscript: When I wrote to the company’s marketing wizard to request the tech sheet on this wine, I remarked, “We thought it was just delicious, especially for a wine that young!” Jim responded, “Yes, the LF CS is one of my absolute favorite wines especially for the price. I’ve literally purchased many cases of it directly from TOG.” Ahh, how lucky of him to have an inside line!
FRONT LABEL: Across the plaza from Leese-Fitch Adobe is the Mission San Francisco Solano. Built in 1823, it is one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Sonoma, the final stop of El Camino Real, “The King’s Highway” that connects all 21 of California’s Franciscan missions.
BACK LABEL: This wine celebrates our home, the Leese-Fitch Adobe. Built in 1836, this historical landmark in the Sonoma Plaza was named after Jacob Leese and Henry Fitch, brothers-in-law to General Mariano Vallejo, the founder of the town of Sonoma.
Appellations: 32% Northern Interior Valley, 29% Lodi, 25% Paso Robles, 9% Clarksburg, 5% Lake County
Sample received for review.