2004 Diamond Creek "Gravelly Meadow" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1024843 96 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Three stars* From the first, this deep, densely filled youngster conveys serious Cabernet intent, and its complex combination of optimally ripened currants, loamy spice and neatly balanced oak is the stuff of high varietal achievement. It is supple at entry and tightens a bit as it goes with nominal tannins lending the right bit of grip to its lingering finish. Although a bit tough, the wine shows a fine sense of polish all the same, and it has all the hallmarks of an ageworthy effort that will develop famously for another ten years and more.  (8/2007)

96 points Wine & Spirits

 Gravelly Meadow unfolds into delicious, supple richness in 2004, its floral cherry and rose scents underscored by firm minerality. This grows on a gravel wash left behind by floods along Diamond Creek, where Phil Steinschriber tends the Cabernet vines to tame the potent tannins so they feel irresistible rather than austere. One taster compared the feel of it to a mink coat. Steinschriber says the '04 vintage was earlier than usual, and 'fast and furious,' with all the vineyards ripening at the same time (September 27 through mid-October). Gravelly Meadow is a beauty to drink now and over the next 20 years.  (12/2007)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow takes its name from the brown, stony, gravelly soils of this 5-acre vineyard. It possesses that crushed rock, smoky barbecue note that resembles a top-class Pessac-Leognan from Bordeaux. A dark ruby/purple color is followed by wonderfully sweet, concentrated red and black fruits, a certain smoky earthiness, sweet tannin and a textured, full-bodied mouthfeel. This potentially profound red wine can be drunk over the next 20 years. From an aromatic complexity perspective, it may eclipse the Red Rock Terrace. Lastly, the biggest of these single vineyards is the 8-acre site known as Volcanic Hill, whose white tufa volcanic soils are in total contrast to the gravelly soils and red, iron-rich, clay soils of its two siblings. 95+ (RP)  (4/2014)

K&L Notes

Al Brounstein, the long time proprietor of Diamond Creek, is sadly no longer with us, but the wines he helped to create put Napa on the map of fine winemaking, and his legacy lives on in this Bordeaux-inspired Cabernet. The 2004 Gravelly Meadow needed some aging (5-10 years from release) to allow its beautiful minerality and finesse to shine through its fine tannins. Black fruit, a touch of spice and such backbone; amazing.

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Price: $179.99
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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 M├ędoc 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.