Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blue Rock 1999 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

Maybe that’s what Dionne Warwick had in mind when she sang the song, “That’s What Friends Are For.” And by “that” we mean incredible wine – like this standout Cabernet from Alexander Valley.

We Get The “Blues”

One of our favorite bottles is Baby Blue, a Bordeaux style blend from Blue Rock Vineyard in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. I don’t think we have every had a bad wine from Alexander Valley – and Blue Rock keeps some pretty nice company.

Blue Rock’s 100 acre estate is located next door to the iconic Silver Oak winery. Blue Rock is named after the soils found in the vineyard, which contain a high percentage of Serpentine, a blue colored rock high in magnesium. The soil contributes a unique flavor profile to the wine.

Although we love Baby Blue, it is still the “baby” and the big daddy is the Blue Rock Estate Cabernet.

Entering The Way Back Machine

What’s more fun than opening a bottle of great wine? Opening a nicely aged bottle of vintage wine.
We were treated to just that as we paid a visit to tasting team members The Cabernetor and Glorious T. While Glorious T had the food covered with aplomb, The Cabernetor was determined to live up to his name – and he certainly did.

He emerged from the cellar with a 1999 bottle of Blue Rock Cabernet Sauvignon. Although typos are not unknown in the blog – this is not one! This was an 18-year old bottle of premium Sonoma Cabernet.

Napa Cabernets and maybe California Cab in general, are sometimes criticized as being a bad match with food. They can come on way too strong with heavy handed tannins that overpower a meal. Not so with Blue Rock.

Blue Rock is food friendly and a showcase of winemaking artistry. It is one of the most popular wines in Sonoma and has taken home bushels of honors from critics. The aging takes it into a whole different dimension.

It is a blend of several different mature blocks of grapes and may include small amounts of Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec or, as was the case in 1999, Petit Verdot. With age, the wine is as finely polished like the hood of a car collector’s classic Corvette Stingray. This is smooth sailing with no jarring flavors or high alcohol level – all is harmonious.

The flavors are rich and flowing with red fruit, blackberry and notes of mint. Aging is done in a mix of new and used French oak barrels, so there is structure – but after 18 years, all is integrated into a symphony of flavor.

So, there are a couple take-aways from this experience. First, Alexander Valley and Blue Rock Vineyard in particular, produce smashing Cabernet. Second, your “treasure” bottles of wine only have value when you bring them out and enjoy them. That our friends would do this was as nice a feeling as tasting the incredible ‘99 Blue Rock!

Dust off those bottles and enjoy them with your friends!


benjamin said...

WOW! So nice to see this review. 1999 was Blue Rock's first vintage and very underrated by the critics who are impressed with the warmer vintages. The Cabernets from Alexander Valley generally are more accessible than their Napa brethren. However, it is not common knowledge that the cabernets from the best sites and with restrained winemaking also age with so much grace.

Dave Nershi, CSW said...

Hey Benjamin - Thanks for the comment. I didn't realize this was Blue Rock's first vintage. That makes it even more special. Your comment about aging with grace is right on target. May we all age so well!