Our 1997 GAN EDEN Limited Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine of surpassing elegance and style. 100% varietal, it was created entirely from fruit grown at Eaglepoint ranch. The vineyards are the highest and steepest in Mendocino County. This is true high-mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. It is highly extracted, and this makes for a long-lived style of wine which is not for everybody, tight and tannic. However, 1997, as a vintage, was noted for supple tannins, and it worked to favor accessibility in these grapes. The wine, though tannic, is drinkable now, even while indicating enhanced ageability. It is not as tight as it would have been in a normal year, allowing some fruit character to manifest itself even in a wine with so little time in bottle (barely a year and a half- very little from the standpoint of mountain Cab).
The grapes for this wine were harvested at 24 degrees brix, fermented dry on skins using indigenous yeasts, macerated for 2 months on skins to maximize extraction, and oak aged using both French and American oak of varying toast levels, from medium to heavily toasted.
This wine emphasizes structure, the complex interplay between fruit, tannin, acidity and oak. we attempted not to overoak, however, in order to maximize the fruit character (to the extent I could) early on. However, there is plenty of oak to allow for aging. This is a more highly acidic wine than many other California Cabernet Sauvignons, due to my desire to see it age gracefully tor at least 10 years. However, as I said, it can be enjoyed now.
Norm Roby, in the New York Times Wine on the Web (www.winetoday.com) called this wine "ultra-ripe", "extracted" and "masculine", and gave it a high 3 1/2 star rating. It won several medals in 2001, though only released May 1, and was rated "Exceptional" at 90 points by the Beverage Testing Institute, on their web site, www.tastings.com . All of this surprised us, considering that we feel this wine will show much better in succeeding years (we are pleased, however, that others agree with our assessment of the quality, although we do not take reviews too seriously, preferring to rely on our own assessments). In 2002, it received 9 medals, usually being judged against wines in its own price category (around $40 per bottle), and in 2003, it won 7 medals in 2003, including its first real Gold, and a few medals so far in 2004.
While this is not the first time we have made a reserve styled Cab, it is the first time we have labeled one as such. The wine-drinking world is trending towards early drinkability and forward fruit, so I felt it important to differentiate this style from that generally found in the marketplace.
A great wine with steak, roast or chops, and it should keep improving for many years to come. This wine also does particularly well paired with a hot corned beef brisket, as its acidity stands up well to the spicy quality of the corned beef.
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