2006 Cimarone "Le Clos Secret" Three Creek Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley Red Blend (Previously $45 elswhere)

SKU #1050762

The "Le Clos Secret" is a blend of 45% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec that really shows its Right Bank roots. It comes from Cilla and Roger Higgins'organically-grown Three Creek Vineyard in the Happy Canyon sub-appelation of the Santa Ynez Valley, which was planted in 2001, and is made by Happy Canyon champion Doug Margerum (Margerum Cellars, Happy Canyon Vineyard). The big chunk of Cabernet Franc makes this wine stand out instantly, with evergreen, lavender and fern notes on the nose that make you think: there is something wonderfully different about this wine. While bigger and richer than its litter sister, 3CV Bank, it has a similar concentration of fruit, with a bit more upfront oak adding dimension and potential for aging. The flavors of blackberry, cassis, mushroom and redwood are excitingly refreshing for a domestic Bordeaux-style blend. I think this is as good as any $30 wine we have in the store right now, even those from a more "prestigious" region. (Bryan Brick, K&L) According to WIne Spectator: "Firm and spicy, with zesty wild berry and black cherry notes that are vibrant and intense, ending with full-bodied tannins and a rich aftertaste of loamy earth. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2014. 215 cases made." (Web only, 2009)

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Price: $22.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5