2009 Tor Kenward Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1073461

Tor Kenward specializes in single-vineyard Cabs, but like in 2005, they found that their single vineyard sources combined to create an exceptional cuvee that represents the best of Napa Valley. Its earthy, spicy nose is filled with blackberry fruit and just a hint of mint, and the palate is flush with deep black, round fruits upfront and on the mid-palate, framed by supple tannins that firm up a bit on the finish, savory herbs and clove-cinnamon spice. In his preview of the 2009s, Robert Parker wrote: "Tasting through the 2009s suggest that Tor Kenward must have picked virtually all his fruit prior to the rains. I'll wait until they are in bottle to pass judgment, but certainly they all appear to be fabulous wines. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Cimarossa Vineyard from Howell Mountain are both very good. However, his Beckstoffer To-Kalon cuvees (there will be four in 2009) look to be mid to upper 90-point efforts that are slightly more front end-loaded with sweeter tannins and more precocious personalities than either the 2007s or 2008s. They will probably be charming, nearly irresistible when released, but I will report on them more fully next year. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignons, which were reviewed last year, were terrific, and the 2008s appear to have equaled, perhaps eclipsed those cuvees. Moreover, barrel samples of the 2009s indicate they may be among the finest wines he has yet produced."

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Price: $79.99
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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.