My first time trying the wines of Schug Carneros Estate was this past January at the Sun Wine Fest. Up until that point my familiarity with them was by reputation. So when I noticed they were represented, I made a point to taste through their wines. The wines were sufficiently impressive that I knew immediately I wanted to cover some of them here. Today's selection is a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Just over 3,000 cases of this Sonoma Valley designated wine were bottled. 13% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Syrah were blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon. The retail price is $26.
The first thing apparent to me about this wine is how much the Cabernet Franc does to lift the nose of this wine. Dark berry fruit abounds in the bouquet along with subtle spice notes. The first sips reveal a lot more spice and copiuous black cherry fruit. As these carry through the mid-palate they are joined by some clove and strong mocha characteristics. This Cabernet finishes with an underlying earthiness and continued spice notes. This wine is rich and mouth-filling. It's a natural companion to heartier fare. A steak would certainly suit it rather well. I found it to pair perfectly with a beef barley stew.
To fully enjoy this wine now, I recommend decanting it for a minimum of an hour. It needs that time to really open up and reveal all it's layers and charm. As with the other releases I have looked at from Schug, this Cabernet is very well balanced and quite frankly elegant. The use of oak is apparent but well in check. The style of this wine reminds me a bit of a Wellington Cabernet I looked at a few weeks ago. Both are well crafted wines from Sonoma, whose balanced style strike me as more typically European than Californian.
Although it's drinking well now I'd expect this wine to improve nicely over the next handful of years. The earthiness which is present now will likely become more readily apparent. Whether you want to drink it tonight with dinner, or lay it down for a few years, the 2005 Sonoma Valley Cabernet is another solid bet from Schug.
Coming Friday: This weeks look at Schug Carneros Estate closes with two Pinot Noir releases
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