1997 Chateau St. Jean "Cinq Cépages" Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Ultrarich and chocolaty, with layers of cedar, plum, currant and black cherry, revealing uncommon depth and tiers of flavor as it picks up coffee, toffee and anise. Finishes with firm tannins.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1997 Cinq Cepages is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit-Verdot, it boasts a super-complex bouquet of licorice, dried herbs, black currants, spice box, and cherry liqueur. In the mouth, notes of chocolate, new oak, and red and black fruits caress the palate in a medium to full-bodied, succulent style. Aged in 50% new and 50% one-year old French barrels, it is bottled with no fining or filtration. Fleshy and complex, this is California's answer to a big, rich St.-Emilion. Drinkable now, it promises to last for 12-15 years. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Ruby-red. Complex nose melds blackberry, cassis, cherry, lead pencil, flowers and rather high-toned tarry oak scents. Fairly dense but juicy, with bright cherry/berry and tobacco flavors. Still a bit unforthcoming in the middle. At once sweet and structured. Finishes with big, dusty tannins and very good length. The most promising vintage to date for this bottling.
Shows an earthy Brettanomyces character that will either warm or cool the cockles of one’s palate heart. That, and the ripe black fruit, slight herbaceousness and crisp acidity, will likely prompt contemplation and beg for service with food. But isn’t that wines role?