Napa Valley: Waterstone 2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Waterstone 2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Sadly, our wine collection at home has been rather neglected as of late - between traveling the past few months and moving into a new place, we calculated that we’ve eaten more meals at various airports than our own home so far this year!  Last night was an unusually cold and windy night in Taipei so we opted to skip going out and finally enjoy a nice romantic meal in our new apartment, which provided the perfect excuse to open one of our good Napa Cabs.  Our pick – the 2004 Reserve from Waterstone.

Any good Cab deserves a nicely paired meal to bring out the complex array of aromas and flavors found in this hearty varietal.  My pick for this wine was a juicy, thick grilled steak.  Marinated with a dry rub, much like Emeril’s Essence, I was very curious to see how the Cab would stand up against the strong black pepper flavor often best reserved for a varietal like Zinfandel.

Steak with grilled onions, baked potato, and green beans

To my pleasant surprise, the Waterstone Cabnernet stood up perfectly against the peppery dry rub, maintaining its fruit forwardness and a nice finish.  The 2004 Reserve Cab is 9% Cabernet Franc, perhaps providing that tobacco touch that married so well with the black pepper in the spice rub.

In general, I’ve found 2004 to be a fantastic year for Cabs in the Napa Valley.  Almost every 2004 Cab I’ve tried from Napa Valley has easily beaten out other year vintages, hands down.  After what turned out to be an early harvest season due to early bud break followed by a hot summer,  many vineyards were faced with a decrease in fruit production; however, they ended up with grapes that had much more concentrated flavors.  This certainly worked in Waterstone’s favor as this wine was recognized by Wine Enthusiast and awarded 91 points in the November 2008 Buyer’s Guide.

Tasting Notes and Wine Data

  • Tasting Notes: Aromas of cedar oak, currant, black cherry and ripe plum.  Flavors of cherries, plums, chocolate and tobacco marry with the subtle oak nuances. Firm tannins provide a balance, leading to a long, lingering finish.
  • Composition: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot
  • Oak Aging: 21 months in brand new small French Oak barrels
  • Production: 664 cases
  • Bottling Date: January 15, 2007
  • Suggested retail: $75
  • Cellar Potential:  Wine Enthusiast suggests cellaring until 2012, or drink now after decanting for a few hours

New World Wines: Reserve Mourvedre from Lava Cap

Lava CapLava Cap in Placerville, CA produces some great wines (winery review to follow!) and one of the bottles that made it to Taiwan with us is their Mourvedre Reserve.  Mourvedre is a Rhone varietal that tends to be a pretty tannic wine on its own.  Besides the southern Rhone Valley, it is common along the Mediterranean, sometimes known as Monastrell or Mataro.  It is most often a blending wine and Lava Cap’s Mourvedre Reserve is 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Zinfandel, and 2% Barbera.   Lava Cap notes their Mourvedre has a spicy nose of black pepper, anise, cherry, and clove framed by a sweet oak.   The taste is smooth and rich, but not too tannic.

Lava Cap produced only 9 barrels of this wine and it’s probably one of my favorite wines from them.  For those who are not familiar with the vineyard, it’s a small, boutique type winery, located in the foothills near Sacramento.

For pairing Mourvedre, it is best with roasts, stews, and more hearty dishes.  We paired it with a roast pork in red wine (used the Mourvedre) sauce with a potato stew.

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