2005 Three Dog Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1301294

A couple of years back I started a conversation with a local vineyard manager that said he had some great back vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Obviously I was incredibly intrigued and asked him who the producer was. His response was Three Dog Vineyard. I had never heard of it or ever saw any of the wines. I couldn't find anything on-line either so I was both intrigued and cautious. When he finally stopped by with a couple of different vintages I was shocked. Here was top notch Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet that nobody knew about, with tons of varietal and regional character for a fantastic price point. Then we found out that they had about 15 vintages of this wine for us to choose from, needless to say we were all in. After some logistical starts and stops we brought in the 2002 Three Dog Vineyard Cabernet last year in the Fall and it was a massive hit. It's taken us a while to get the second vintage of this wine but we are really excited about the 2005 vintage and think it is well worth the wait. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Price: $29.99
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Staff Image By: Adam Winkel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/15/2017 | Send Email
I'm down to one bottle in my case of 2002 Three Dog Cab, so I'm pretty stoked that we got this. Comparatively, the 2005 is a little bit more plush and fresh than the 2002 which was shaded more with dried fruit tones and sharper acidity. Still, "plush" is a relative term when you're talking about Santa Cruz Mountains, as this is still quite an elegant and savory wine with a lot of structure. I love the depth, purity, and classically proportioned profile here. In France there's a term called "buveurs d’etiquettes", which translates to "label drinkers". It refers to those who are only interested in the prestige printed on the outside of their bottle rather than what is inside of it. With a familiar label, the buveurs d’etiquettes would line up to pay a king's ransom for this bottle.

Staff Image By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/5/2017 | Send Email
This is an incredible Cabernet for an incredible price. This wine is full of dark cherries and cranberries a hint of cocoa, and just the right amount of leather. Bright, fresh acid and a long elegant finish make this a spectacular value and sure to be a hit at your next dinner party.

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
After tasting a full vertical of Three Dog wines dating back to 1997 there were a few wines that really stood out and the 2005 was at the top of that list. It was one of the most powerful and youthful of the wines with deep set, inky aromas of cassis, olive, evergreen and even some dark chocolate tones. The thing that surprised me the most was just how much life was left in the wine, now at 12 years old this is just finally unraveling to show its full potential and that potential is through the roof. Packed with typical Santa Cruz Mountains savor and energy this is rich and polished enough for rib eyes or even lamb but it is also so drinkable that it could be a hell of a cocktail wine as well as it is still packed with tremendous wild berry, red currant and spiced plum fruit, the freshness of which belies its age. This is a must for all fans of Cabernet with age, York Creek devotees and anyone looking for a heck of a value.

Staff Image By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
Here is a delicious and well made Cabernet caught somewhere between youth and middle age that is drinking perfectly right now. This is gently earthy but with lots of dusty plum and baked cherry fruit along with a sprinkle of sage and anise on the leather tinged finish. There is good sweetness here and a gentle burnished quality to the plump, round middle. This is very easy to drink.

Staff Image By: Muriel Sarik | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
I was pleasantly surprised with this wine. We don't see 2005 California Cabs at this price very often especially from the Santa Cruz AVA. This is delicious. All the characteristic of a fine Cabernet. This wine is smooth, balanced and has dark fruit running throughout the palate. Dog lovers will appreciate the label. A must buy for cab lovers too!

Staff Image By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
This was by far the most exciting wine at our last domestic staff tasting. Wearing its age very well, it showcases mostly vibrant red fruit like savory raspberries, ripe strawberries and dark cherries with leathery undertones and just a hint of earthy spice. At this price and with several years of ageing potential left, I’m going to case up on this one.

Staff Image By: Brian Allie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
At 12 years old, this incredible Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet has had the time to come of an age where it is really showing extremely well. This super balanced, wallet friendly Cabernet displays flavors of dark cherries and berries as well as woodsy notes and tobacco. It has a lovely, long lasting finish with fine tannins. This is going to go fast, so make sure to secure a few (or more) bottles now!

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
Ignore the slightly whimsical label...this is seriously good Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet. Cut from the same cloth as iconic wines such as Ridge Montebello and Mount Eden, this wine shows the same beautiful combinations of dusty red fruits, cedar, tobacco, warm earth; vibrant acidity and long, fine tannin. This winery direct deal is a DO NOT MISS opportunity for lovers of cooler climate Cab. The fact that it has had a decade plus of ageing in the bottle only multiplies the value on offer here. This is refined, elegant Cabernet for an unbeatable price.
Top Value!

Staff Image By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
I don't often equate a sub thirty dollar bottle of wine with small production, single vineyard Cabernet from the Santa Cruz Mountains... it's largely non-existent in my world. After you get past the terrifyingly hokey label and endeavor into the wine itself it's captivating and vibrant, even with 12 years of age on it. Savory red fruits, tobacco leaf, baking spices and dried herbs are all over the place here. Come grab some, they're worth every penny.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2017 | Send Email
I keep telling customers that finding well priced aged California Cabs is next to impossible and our buyer keeps turning me into a liar. Still I would rather continue to be proven wrong by him than the alternative. We debuted the 2002 vintage of this wine last year and it is exciting to see it back in an even more powerful vintage. Dark berry. sweet tobacco, currant and bramble all with balancing acid and silky tannins help you to know you are getting into some Californian Cab. Add to this the fact that this wine already has 12 years in bottle so is in a beautiful drinking window and you have a winner, oh yeah and it is $30.

Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/2/2017 | Send Email
The 2005 Three Dog Vineyard Cabernet is an incredible value from some of the oldest vines in the Portola Valley. The wine is drinking beautifully right now, with a plush soft tannin and an elegant balance of fruit and acid. Aromas of dried rose petal and cinnamon, with a delicately fruit driven palate. A fantastic vintage for California Cabernet, and the price, and time, is right.

Additional Information:


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 Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.