Home > USA > Wetzel Alexander Valley vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Wetzel Alexander Valley vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

The largest and most fully planted of Sonoma county’s many vineyards valleys, Alexander Valley takes in the Russian river watershed upstream of Healdsburg north all the way to Sonoma-Mendocino county line north of Cloverdale. If the general history is long, with vines dating back into the 1850s, the particular history of noble varieties is – a few rare plantings excepted- as short here as almost everywhere else in California. Gallo’s acquisition of nearly 600 ha since 1988 in Alexander Valley alone signaled a new era for both Gallo and Alexander Valley.

Alexander Valley is noteworthy among other Sonoma county appellations for the fleshy voluptuousness of its wines. A wide range of grape varieties is grown at least passably well, which has distracted from the question of what the district does best. Cabernet Sauvignon has gained a certain currency, with a signature note of chocolate warmth and agreeable mouth-feel. Chardonnays also tend to bold statement and ample girth. These varieties, market driven, dominate plantings. Most of its substantial plantings are on a broad and nearly flat valley floor very nearly bisected by the river, but some significant ones creep into the east hills.

The 2007  vintage had early bud break and a fairly mild summer growing season with a burst of heat in AUG followed by a cool Sept. This seemed to set the stage for a textbook perfect harvest; then came rains in late Sept and Oct so results were mixed, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon on the North Coast. The advice is to hang on to the Cabernet.

I have just received this bottle as a gift from a relative in the US so I decided to try it. I had this wine on a TUE evening together with a quick vegetarian meal. I try to eat vegetarian food a few days per week, as much of a burden as that might feel. So a tasty cheese pie with mushrooms with garlic and a capresse salad seemed a good replacement.

Perhaps not the best dishes to pair with a Cabernet but it was nevertheless a tasty dinner.

The wine is a Bordeaux blend: predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with small parts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. I was expecting a fruit bomb as usually this is the norm for Californian Cab’s, but I was pleasantly surprised how elegant this wine is.

The wine has an opaque dark red/purple color. The nose is sweet with hints of dark red fruits, tobacco,  blackcurrant, discreet green bell pepper, violets,  spices. In the mouth the wine is juicy, a very nice silky mouth-feel, with good flesh, a medium to full body wine; blackcurrant, dark cherry, black pepper, earth are nicely balanced by the integrated oak. There is however a warmth feel on the back-end even though the wine has only 14% alcohol. The wine has  the typicality of the Alexander Valley having a long aftertaste with sweet tannins and bitter dark chocolate that remains in the mouth for a long time. Lovely, I liked this dry wine a lot. As far as I understood, the wine has a price level of $20-24. For this price the wine is amazingly good, nothing is over the top; with time, I am sure the alcohol will integrate completely and the heat will vanish. As for now the wine is Very good+.

If you have the possibility to get this wine, you will definitely not be deceived by its quality. Please try it.

Thanks for reading…

Categories: USA
  1. May 13, 2010 at 12:28

    This one seems like a beautiful wine, indeed! Too bad it’s a rare bird here, in Romania. I’m also a big fan of Californians – especially the Sonoma County estate, vinified French style. The last gigantic wine I had the opportunity to taste from these blessed vineyards was Saint Jean’s Cinq Cepages 2006 – a 96 pointer (RP, WS, WE). A wine in a million – to try and never forget! Obviously, this one too comes highly recommended, but, alas, it is just as scarce as yours in these parts!

  2. May 13, 2010 at 13:37

    Unfortunately the American wines have rather prohibitive prices in Romania. Of course, the good ones.

  3. May 15, 2010 at 10:41

    Most of the better californian wines are considered to be overpriced even in the U.S. What should I say about the “icon” wines like Screaming Eagle, for example?! – it’s one of the most expensive wine in the world, on the par with Petrus…

    • May 20, 2010 at 17:08

      Ciprian usually there are the so called mailing lists that the cult wines have. It is very hard to get on that list, sometimes you have to wait for years. But these lists are usually giving you the best price. In the second market the prices increase 3 or 4 times immediately. Nevertheless these cult wines are very expensive, but don’t have the history of aging as Bordeaux have. It seems there is now a trend among sommeliers and restaurants to abandon the Bdx wines and choose Burgundy as their owners are still the ones making the wine and selling it. Read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/19/dining/19pour.html

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