2014 Arnot-Roberts "Clajeux Vineyard" Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (Previously $100)

SKU #1302824 94 points Vinous

 The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Clajeux Vineyard offers striking purity in its aromatics and flavors. Bright red stone fruit, flowers, chalk, mint and a host of ferrous notes are all pushed forward. Tense and slightly nervous on the palate, with terrific energy, the Clajeux captures all the signatures that make Chalk Hill Cabernets so distinctive. I imagine the 2014 will be slow to unwind. Even today, though, it is very attractive. Arnot-Roberts fans will note a few changes to the range this year. Sadly, there is no Legan Pinot Noir in 2015, as there was essentially nothing to harvest in the field after what turned out to be a very challenging growing season. The same was true of the Trousseau off Bohan Ranch. Arnot-Roberts lost their access to Pinot Noir from Trout Gulch, but have added Pinot from Clary Ranch in exchange. Lastly, Nathan Roberts and his wife recently purchased the Que Syrah vineyard. It's hard to know where to start with these current releases. The 2015 Syrahs are off the charts. I was also quite impressed with the 2014 Cabernets, wines that continue to gain in both complexity and precision. But with one or two exceptions where the growing season was too punishing, these are all terrific wines that will delight those lucky enough to find them. (AG)  (1/2017)

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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:

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).