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2014 Star Lane Santa Ynez Cabernet Sauvignon (Previously $45)

SKU #1324474 95 points Vinous

 The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Star Lane Vineyard is bold, pungent and bursting with fruit. Deep and unctuous in texture, but with considerable aromatic lift, the 2014 offers a terrific expression of Happy Canyon. Black cherry, blackberry, grilled herbs, menthol, sage and licorice infuse the rich, inviting finish. (AG) 95+  (9/2017)

K&L Notes

Praise for the producer from Antonio Galloni: "Tyler Thomas has done a remarkable job since taking over at Dierberg and sister property Star Lane in 2013. In short, Dierberg focuses on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, while Star Lane focuses on the Bordeaux varieties that do so well in Happy Canyon. At their best, the Dierberg and Star Lane wines possess striking purity and plenty of site-specific nuance." (06/2016)

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Staff Image By: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/29/2017 | Send Email
It makes complete sense that the Dierberg family would create two different labels and have two different properties to differentiate between the Bordeaux varietals that go to Star Lane Vineyards and the cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that are labeled as Dierberg Vineyard. Even though the vineyards are only about 20 miles apart, they are two extreme climates for growing grapes and the Star Lane Vineyard in Happy Canyon is the perfect terroir to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and all its supporting characters. Warm enough to reach phenolic ripeness but planted with elevation for right amount of stress and diversity, the vines at Star Lane Vineyard produce the perfect balance of rich, concentrated purple and black fruit along side a full bodied but grippy palate. There's a beautiful pure, rawness to this wine in that it tastes like a Cab, but not some overly polished, overly manipulated wine that's lost a little bit of its soul but an authentic Cabernet Sauvignon that is true to its terroir and place. This is Happy Canyon Cab.

Staff Image By: Anthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/18/2017 | Send Email
Yummy stuff here; cherry cola, vanilla, crushed plum, and a touch of leather make up the nose. The alcohol is very well integrated, you can take a big sniff without burning your nose. On the palate, this Cabernet is very elegant, balancing it's elements of fruit and spice. I like it because although it would match a meal perfectly, you don't NEED food to enjoy it.

Staff Image By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/17/2017 | Send Email
I've enjoyed Star Lane Cabs for over a decade now and am thrilled to see them getting some long overdue mainstream recognition. Not only are the wines better than ever, but the pricing is stunning - basically the same on our shelves as they were back in the day. That probably won't be the case for long considering what's in the bottle with the 2014 vintage. Beautiful bright acidity carries red and black fruit to go alongside a chalky tannin that's almost reminiscent of Bordeaux. But the brightness and concentration shows a sense of place and a home in California. Drink now with a healthy decant, or follow over the next 10 to 15 years. (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec)

Staff Image By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/17/2017 | Send Email
It’s not often that I taste a California Cabernet that I think is in balance, for I am not a fan of the super unctuous, dripping and oozing types that others might like. Although this isn’t a low alcohol Cabernet it is in balance and that is the first thing I look for in a wine. The nose is full of wild herbs, hints of leather and spice interspersed with bursts of cinnamon and wild cherry, a more Bordeaux like aromatic. Yet in the mouth you can tell this is a California wine, the texture takes over with a supple and richly textured palate feel. The flavors repeat the nose but with a more saturated denseness to them, the wild cherry deepens and lifts the spice. The wine has a restrained and elegant feel to it, lots of acidic lift, super fine grain tannin to give boundary to the Cabernet’s richness. An elegant and balanced take for California Cabernet.
Drink from 2017 to 2022

Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/17/2017 | Send Email
I don't think I could have named you one producer in the Santa Barbara region making Cabernet until I tasted the Star Lane this past week, but I was surprised by much more than the anomaly of such a thing. This is real deal Cabernet with structure and secondary flavors of earth and tobacco, not just some fruit-forward or simple bottle of California red. Star Lane vineyard, as I would later learn, is planted to 200 acres of Bordeaux varieties and the vineyard differentiates itself from other parts of Santa Barbara County by sustaining warmth. In a region dedicated to cooler climate varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, that's important. The vineyard also has elevations ranging from 750 to 1550 feet above sea level throughout Happy Canyon, meaning that different grapes grow in different microclimates, creating a diverse crop of fruit. You can taste that character in the wine as the flavors range from dark fruited and powerful, to herbaceous and savory. It's a California wine with the heart and soul of a Bordeaux. Give it time in a decanter and cook up a nice meal. You won't be sorry.

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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:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.4