Ardente Winery Cabernet Sauvingon ‘Grande Riserva’ 1997
Today I am excited for two reasons: This is my first post and I am drinking a 1997 Napa Cabernet. I thought to myself,”How better to inaugurate this blog than to open a Cabernet Sauvingon from one of Napa’s best vintages?”
Considered legendary by most, and overrated by some, Napa Valley’s 1997 vintage is certainly a memorable one. Many Napa cult Cabernet’s command significant premiums for the 1997 vintage versus other vintages. According to Napa Valley Vintner’s, which publishes a vintage recap on the growing conditions and the success of the harvest, “A temperate summer with moderate, steady temperatures allowed the fruit to reach optimum maturity with good hang time for the full development of character and flavors.”
Has 16 years been good to this wine? While I wasn’t fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try this on release, I was very curious to taste this wine from a highly acclaimed vintage to see what, if any, secondary flavors have developed over time.
Color: The color immediately reminded me of a wine with some age on it. A nice reddish brown, there was definitely evidence of bricking.
Nose: Tobacco and dried cherry were the most pronounced notes.
Taste: The wine had a tart cherry and blackberry flavor backed by a nice tannin structure, with a long, somewhat rustic finish and nice acidity.
Region: Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, California
Value Rating: 4.25/5
Price: $25 ($55 Retail)
This wine has held up well and is still very much alive. It isn’t the most elegant or complex wine I’ve ever had, but it is still a very tasty example of an aged Napa Valley Cabernet from a great vintage. This wine is available on the producer’s website for $55 per bottle, but I was able to purchase it for $25 per bottle with shipping over at http://wine.woot.com/.
It isn’t that often you can walk into your local wine shop and buy properly cellared Cabernet with 10+ years of bottle age. You can recreate something similar using a blackberry wine recipe but the joy of walking into a store and seeing a bottle that you’ve been searching for is unexplainable. When you purchase “library releases” from producers there is usually a premium associated with the purchase. Usually, these wines have never left the producer’s cellars which greatly increases your chances that the wine will be in good, drinkable condition. Combine these factors and I think this is a definite re-buy at this price, should Woot offer this wine again.
Just as a whole host of environmental factors came into play in making 1997 an outstanding vintage, several factors came together to inspire me to begin this wine blog. I can only hope that, like the 1997 Ardente ‘Grande Riserva’ Cabernet, this blog develops and becomes more interesting with time.