Thursday, May 14, 2020

Chateau St. Jean 45th Edition Cabernet

Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon 45th Anniversary Special Edition

Being somewhat of a sentimentalist, I couldn't resist opting for this 45th Anniversary Special Edition Reserve Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon, being our 45th anniversary year as well. Another anniversary year wine, the rebrand of Caymus Estate Napa Cab also happens to coincide with our anniversary year.

We've written often in these pages about Chateau St. Jean being one of the crown jewels of Sonoma. It is one of our regular chateau estate tastings in our visits to the Sonoma region.

This special 45th Anniversary Special Edition release celebrates their "legacy of producing terroir driven wines from across the renowned region. Sourced from Alexander Valley, this Cabernet Sauvignon is an elegant yet structured representation of Sonoma County’s premier Cabernet growing region."

I ordered a case of this label upon release but due to the Coronavirus shut-in, just now was able to taste it, since I have been home-bound and this was delivered to my office downtown Chicago six weeks ago.

Tonight, we opened this in a mini anniversary celebration, rejoicing our survival in coping being shut-in together during these surreal and crazy circumstances in this, our 45th year.

This release got 94 points from James Suckling and Antonio Galloni's Vinous, and 91 points from Natalie.

James Suckling said this 'needs two or three years to soften. Try after 2022. Best from 2020 through 2030.' I agree, it was a bit tight, closed and flabby on initial opening, and will hopefully come together with a few more years aging. Antonio Galloni wrote, the "floral and savory aromas open up over time", and we found it needed time to open and in fact, was better the next day, after sitting open for the evening. 

The fruit was sourced from several vineyard sites throughout the Alexander Valley where Cabernet Sauvignon grows best including some of St. Jean’s traditional sources: Asti Vineyard, Stuhlmuller Vineyard as well as Belle Terre vineyard.  

Chateau St Jean winemaker Margo Van Staaveren writes: "The 2015 growing season was one of outstanding quality marked with ideal weather for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. The continuation of California’s drought brought a dry winter followed by a dry and early spring with an early bud break. Weather was warm and consistent throughout late spring and summer which allowed for full development in the grapes. We began picking the grapes in September, and while overall yields were low, the quality and depth of flavor of the fruit was excellent." 

The wine was barreled aged in 60% French and 40% American Oak barrels for 20 months of oak aging. This wine was bottled in August of 2017 and received another 6 months of bottle age prior to its release on January 1, 2018, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the famed winery.  

Natalie writes,"Dramatic differences in day and night time temperatures gives this Cabernet Sauvignon is ripe, juicy fruit flavours of cassis, smoke, anise and dried sweet tobacco. Decant for one hour prior to pouring."

The Winemaker's Tasting Notes; "Deep ruby in color, this Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a huge amount of blueberry, plum, and violets on the nose, with oak spices shining through. On the palate, blue fruit flavors combine with cassis and plum to create a very deep berry and fruit profile. The wine finishes with strong oak spice supported by the tannic structure. Very drinkable with a strong acidity complementing the tannins and fruit flavors. Drink now, or cellar for up to 15 years."

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, black berry and black currant fruits with notes of dark mocha chocolate, cassis, smoke, anise, black tea and tobacco.

Natalie suggested pairing this Cabernet Sauvignon with "grilled portobello mushroom, lamb Bolognese, or grilled New York strip loin." We did, ordering in curb-side carry out from Angelis Italian, our neighborhood trattoria, I had the grilled portabella mushrooms along with Bolognese sauce.

RM 91 points.

Chateau St. Jean Website -