2007 James Johnson Vineyard "Bisou" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1210566 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Bisou is a gorgeous wine laced with dark red fruit, flowers, spices and licorice, all of which come together in an open, radiant style that is very appealing. This is a decidedly mid-weight, gracious 2007 that stands out for its classiness and understated personality. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. These are the finest wines I have tasted from James and Michelle Johnson, and their winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. Over the years I have probably tasted every wine from this small 3-acre property in one of the cooler parts of St. Helena, but these wines are a step up from previous releases. Sometimes things take time. Unfortunately the 2010 and 2011 fruit has been sold to another top St. Helena winery, so there may not be any future releases from James Johnson Vineyards. The property was originally planted in 1989 with the Grace clone. Two additional acres were planted in 2000 with clones 4 and 337. It would be great to see this project move forward. (AG)  (12/2011)

K&L Notes

James Johnson, a St. Helena local, aims to produce a more refined, pure style of wine, taking after French-style of winemaking. His Francophilia even extends to his wine names, 'Bisou' being the French word for 'kiss'

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Price: $69.99
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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.