2003 Diamond Creek "Red Rock Terrace" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1017554 94 points Wine & Spirits

 Red Rock Terrace, on a north-facing slope of 38°, is cooler than Volcanic Hill, and slightly warmer than Gravelly Meadow. It's the most immediately appealing of the three Diamond Creek wines in 2003. If I were to add points for terroir character, this would score even higher, as my notes from the blind tasting indicate a ferrous, iron-oxide edge to the tannin (the aspect of the soil that accounts for its distinctive color). The grip of those tannins creates a dry succulence, balancing wild blueberry fruit with lovely intensity. Powerfully mineral, the finish lasts with a tremendous elegance.  (12/2006)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Two Stars* Classic components of cassis, loamy earth, pencil lead and nicely balanced oak spice come together in the deep aromas and well-extracted flavors of this solidly varietal bottling, and, while fairly tannic and rather gruff on the palate, the wine is always directed by ample fruit. A serious Cabernet that will both demand and reward genuine patience, it is clearly one for long-term keeping, of ten or more years.  (8/2006)

Wine Spectator

 Austere, with a reduced earthy aroma, but also a core of black cherry syrup, anise, cassis and earthy mineral flavors that turn dry and tannic on the finish. (JL)  (6/2006)

K&L Notes

In comparison to Diamond Creek's triumvirate of excellent Cabernet vineyards, Red Rock Terrace is a warm mesoclimate. This seven acres of north-facing vineyard consists of red-tinted soil very high in iron content. The wine from Red Rock Terrace is the most accessible and earliest drinkable of all Diamond Creek wines, and, though it still has a long life ahead of it in the cellar, even when young the wine showed velvety tannins, a rich and well-balanced mouthfeel, medium dark ruby color with cherry, mint and black currant flavors.

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Price: $159.99
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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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.