Today's Cabernet selection is from Sonoma County California. Tara Bella Winery is very literally 2 people, Tara and Rich Minnick. They do just about everything themselves, including hand numbering and hand-waxing every single bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon. They planted their vineyard in the foothills of the Russian River in 1995. Their 100% varietal, 100% Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon is the only wine they make. Their total annual production is between 300 and 500 Cases. In 2005 they made 359 cases. The first thing apparent about this wine is that it's a little on the young side right now. Decanting it for a couple of hours is highly recommended if you want to enjoy this one in it's youth.
Once it does open up the nose reveals spice, blueberry, cedar and a hint of licorice. The first sips bring out some earthiness as well as raspberry and cherry fruit characteristics. The mid-palate is rich and mouth-filling with excellent acidity. The berry characters as well as the earthiness and spice continue through the long and persistent finish. There is an inherent earthiness to this wine that I'd expect to increase with some bottle age. This wine is very well balanced and made for food. I found it to be a perfect match for Wild Mushroom Risotto.
Tara Bella 2005 Estate Cabernet Reserve sells for $65. However, almost 95% of their wine each year is sold to their wine club for $53 per bottle. If you can get your hands on some of their Cabernet I suggest laying it down for a few years and then pulling it out for a special occasion of some kind. The 2005 should improve nicely for at least 10 years, perhaps more, considering how well balanced it is. This wine might be made in California but it has an Old World style to it.
Tomorrow: The final wine of Cabernet Sauvignon Week, is from Robert Mondavi
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