Saturday, March 30, 2013

Field Stone Estate Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Field Stone Estate Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

This bottle came in a one of those pre-packaged Christmas gift baskets that we received from a business colleague a couple years ago. Such a bottle from a mystery no-name never heard of producer presents a bit of a quandary - re-gifting it will associate it with us with no foresight of what impressive it will leave. Drinking it requires a proper occasion akin to, but quite worthy of OTBN - Open That Bottle Night when our rather deep cellar offers so many worthy alternatives. So, when Linda asked for a late night glass of wine with fruit and cheese, what the heck - OTBN - Open That Bottle (to) Night!

I have to admit when I came up from the cellar, I actually brought up two bottles, this one, and a 'back-up' in the event this one required a 'do over'. What a pleasant surprise! This bottle vastly exceeded expectations and was perfect for the occasion.

Perhaps this was not serendipitous but rather a hidden gem - a diamond in the rough so to speak if we'd researched or knew anything about the label and its history. From the producer's website we learn, "Before our first winery production of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1977, Field Stone's vineyards had acquired an enviable reputation for the outstanding quality of their Cabernet grapes that were sold to Chateau Montelena, Grgich-Hills, Jordan, Simi, and Souverain wineries. From the beginning, André Tchelistcheff, our long-time consultant, emphasized the importance of planting a variety of Cabernet clones instead of just one ("a bouquet of mixed flowers is always more captivating than a vase of one," he said).  Like flowers, clonally distinct Cabernet fruit yields a strikingly broad range of different aromas and flavors. The result is more delightful blending possibilities on the winemaker's artistic palette and a singularly more intriguing, complex wine.  The budwood which we planted in our original vineyards during the sixties and early seventies was from three celebrated Napa vineyard sites:  the BV1 clone, the source of Tchelistcheff's famed Beaulieu "Georges de Latour Private Reserve" Cabernets; the May Vineyard clone, the source of Joe Heitz's acclaimed "Martha's Vineyard" Cabernets; and the Old Niebaum clone of the lionized early Niebaum Cabernets.  These Field Stone heritage clonal blocks make up the old and new Cabernet blocks of our Field Stone estate.  To these classic sources we added two new highly praised Bordeaux clones in our estate planting expansion of the nineties:  Clones 15 and 337.  Now in their full maturity, these vines have provided even further outstanding qualities to our Cabernet."

Quite an impressive pedigree and storied background, indeed. So it should come as no surprise that, while not a blockbuster, this was a very nice easy drinking Cabernet - absolutely perfect for the occasion!

This 2005 vintage release represents a blend of mature fruit from all five of the producer's distinctive estate Cabernet clones.  The producer writes, "In character this ’05 release is a truly complex, expressive, Alexander Valley Cabernet which opens up with seductive, spicy, varietal aromas. Its equally expressive mouth-filling flavors of Bing cherries, plums, and crushed blackberries are bountiful and ripe, with characteristics typical of Field Stone’s definitive “Alexander Valley Style”:  rich, fruit forward, with attractive notes of oak vanillin that never dominate." 

We agree, very true to its heritage, and, to its terroir, this was garnet colored, medium-full bodied, somewhat sophisticated and polished, but not overly complex,  nicely balanced flavors of black cherry, black berry and a layer of tea and moderately sweet black licorice turning to tones of subdued spicy oak on the moderate lingering finish.

This was perfect with truffle infused brie cheese on herb crackers and sliced pears

RM 88 points.

Searching WineSearch or other source sites tells us this is generally available for around $18 which would provide a reasonable QPR - Quality Price Ratio. Two fellow Cellar Tracker Tasting notes are very telling and sum it up well.

Ben C wrote, "Coffee and mocha on the nose with cherry fruit and a seemless palate. This is rather well done. I wish the labels weren't so tacky."

Matt S wrote, "Showing more dark fruit than the last bottle with some cassis and stone traces..... fruits with good acid, and equal oak and spice...... Only one more bottle left. Wish I had bought a case given the QPR."

Great fun in the continued quest to "enjoy, and help unwindWine for greater wine understanding and appreciation.Stay tuned as I seem to recall there was also a bottle of Merlot in that basket!