2007 Checkerboard Napa Valley Red Blend

SKU #1069212 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon has put on weight since last year and performed better from bottle than it did from barrel. A dense purple color is followed by aromas of charcoal, bay leaf, scorched earth, creme de cassis, espresso and black currant. Deep, full-bodied and opulent with subtle oak as well as white chocolate and graphite notes, this is a beauty of full-bodied power and evolving complexity. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. This small, 12-acre, boutique operation on the south side of Diamond Mountain debuted in 2006 (awarded 91 points in last year's report). Approximately 350 cases of this wine made by well-known consultant Martha McClellen are produced. (RP)  (12/2010)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Lovely aromatic lift to the aromas of black cherry, tobacco, licorice, loam and violet complemented by sexy oak. Sweet, dense and intensely flavored, with a rare pliancy of texture for Diamond Mountain cabernet. Considerably sweeter and deeper than the comparatively tough 2006 version, the first vintage from this new producer, which owns vineyards at 600, 1,200 and 1,800 feet up Diamond Mountain. Still a tannic and seriously structured style of wine, but juicy, sweet and very long. Martha McClellan makes the wine, with Michel Rolland consulting. Clearly a new Diamond Mountain winery to watch. Incidentally, owners Dennis O'Neil and Stephen Martin have planted a bit of cabernet franc. (ST)  (6/2010)

93 points Vinous

 (cabernet sauvignon with a bit of merlot; bottled the day before I tasted it in early March) Deep ruby-red. Lovely aromatic lift to the aromas of black cherry, tobacco, licorice, loam and violet complemented by sexy oak. Sweet, dense and intensely flavored, with a rare pliancy of texture for Diamond Mountain cabernet. Considerably sweeter and deeper than the comparatively tough 2006 version, the first vintage from this new producer, which owns vineyards at 600, 1,200 and 1,800 feet up Diamond Mountain. Still a tannic and seriously structured style of wine, but juicy, sweet and very long. Martha McClellan makes the wine, with Michel Rolland consulting. Clearly a new Diamond Mountain winery to watch. Incidentally, owners Dennis O'Neil and Stephen Martin have planted a bit of cabernet franc. (ST)  (5/2010)


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Price: $199.99
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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.