Saturday, March 27, 2010

Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2006

Elizabeth Spencer is one of those small Napa wineries that make really nice wine that not many people know about. Established in 1998, their distribution is limited and most if not all of their retail sales are through their website and their charming little tasting room in Rutherford. They make many different wines ranging from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for whites to Grenache, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Merlot for the reds; however, my belief is that their best wines are their Cabernets. They have a few different Reserve Cabernets as well as their basic Napa Valley Cabernet, and all of them are quite good.

Today I’m taking a close look at their basic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. It has a relatively small production of 2000 cases, but this is a lot compared to some of their reserves that have as little as 100 cases made.

In your glass, the wine has a beautiful purple red color. The nose brings classic Napa Cab aromas of blackberry and cassis with some black cherry in the mix as well. There is also just a little bit of a minty, herbal element to the bouquet. In your mouth, you’ll find a fruit profile that is similar to the nose along with a surprising and very pleasant hint of earthiness. The mouthfeel is really nice and not at all overwhelming like some Napa Cabs can be, and the tannins are very much present but beautifully integrated. This Cabernet has some really nice structure to it, and although it’s drinking nicely now, it should only get better over the next couple of years.

As far as food goes, this will pair perfectly with grilled steak or game just like any good Cabernet, but it also is food friendly enough to work with braised lamb shanks or a beef or lamb stew. At a price of $40 this is a nice value. If you join their wine club and get it for $32, it’s a great deal! As an added bonus, I think it’s a little bit better than any of their reserve Cabs which go for $60 to $80 a bottle.


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