2014 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1280948 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 One of the best values in Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world remains Louis Martini’s Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and the rest Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc and other varieties) is just a beautiful wine. Dense ruby/purple with classic tobacco leaf, blackcurrant, loamy soil notes and a touch of wood spice, this wine (aged 16 months in French and American oak) has relatively modest alcohol for Cabernets these days (13.5%), and what’s even more remarkable is that there are 408,000 cases. The wine has the suppleness and upfront charm to be drunk now, but don’t discount the ability of this wine to hold onto life and last, without losing its fruit, for another 7-10+ years. It is a great value. It is hard to believe that the iconic Louis M. Martini Winery first made Napa Cabernet Sauvignon in 1933. Louis Martini is long gone, but he played a significant role in establishing Napa and Sonoma valleys as premium grape-growing regions. His family has carried on and more recently benefitted from the influx of significant investment from the new owners - the Gallos. (RP)  (10/2016)

K&L Notes

Napa Valley-based Louis M. Martini has always had a focus on Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, not least because Mr. Martini himself developed the Monte Rosso vineyard there in the 1930s. This county-wide blend, which Robert Parker Jr. has called "always one of the best buys in Cabernet Sauvignon" (Wine Advocate, 10/2014), is generally a blend of Dry Creek Valley vineyards like Frei Ranch with Alexander Valley fruit.

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Price: $13.99
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Staff Image By: Diana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/6/2016 | Send Email
Velvety with blackcurrant fruit and notes of licorice, baking spice, tobacco, and aromatic cedar, the 2014 Louis M. Martini is juicy but balanced, with restrained tannic structure and just enough oak at the finish. A shocking price for Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a classically lush, ageable choice.

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/30/2016 | Send Email
K&L has long been incredibly high on the Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet bottling. Year after year it delivers some of the best value not only for Cabernet coming out of Sonoma but out of all the US. Even the veritable Robert Parker himself called it, “One of the best values in Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world,” high praise indeed. From fruit from Martini’s Frei Ranch Vineyards and Barrelli Creek Vineyard this wine takes the ripeness of Dry Creek and meshes it with the refinement and chiseled fruit of Alexander Valley. Pomegranate, Bing cherry, fresh tobacco, tar and a dollop of spearmint and roasting coffee beans fill the high toned and refreshing nose. Having considerable ripeness and extract is certainly a plus at this paltry price point and it has plenty of it with fleshy, easy going texture and a velvety soft feel but this also has a likable mélange of wild berry, eucalyptus, cedar and sweetened dark chocolate to add a note of precision and focus to the overall ripe feel. Then the finish kicks in and takes this to a whole other level with explosive flavors of black cherry, pipe tobacco and chaparral that wines in this price point rarely have. It’s certainly hard to debate Mr. Parker’s sentiments above after trying this.

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/29/2016 | Send Email
Impressive quality and serious value from this Sonoma Cab. Blackberry jam, caramel, oaky spice and well-integrated tannins give this wine structure and age-potential. Feel free to serve this wine now for holiday partys or pick-up a few to cellar and see how it evolves over time.

Staff Image By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/16/2016 | Send Email
Holy Smokes! Great Sonoma Cabernet for under 15 bucks that I'm actually excited about putting in the cellar?! This is a triumph for the "high quality yet extremely affordable" category. It's loaded with dark cassis and blackberry fruit and balanced by the more savory and herbal tones of great Cab: tobacco, cedar and mocha. The spicy oak wraps everything together, and poof -- you have the perfect present for your holiday celebrations. Put an extra case in your cellar and you'll have the gift that keeps on giving for years to come.

Staff Image By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/15/2016 | Send Email
An age-worthy domestic Cab for less than fifteen bucks? Yes, it exists. This is an incredibly serious wine at a price point that is laughably low. Black fruit, licorice, blackcurrant, green bell pepper, baking spices. Toss in a well integrated, powdery tannin on the back end just for good measure. Dump this bottle into a decanter and don't tell your dinner guests how much you paid for the bottle, they'll be remarkably impressed by your generosity.

Additional Information:


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:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 13.8