Cabernet Sauvignon is a relatively new French grape that is the result of a naturally occurring cross fertilization of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It is most famous for being the principal variety used on Bordeaux’s Left Bank and in more recent times has become perhaps equally well-known for its Napa Valley and Sonoma County versions. Napa presents an ideal environment for making Cabernet Sauvignon with varying characteristics as the alluvial soils in the valley floor produce grapes very different than the thinner and more minerally soils on the elevated slopes of the sides of the valley. Cabernet Sauvignons from the Foothills, especially those from El Dorado county, tend to be very similar to Napa’s hillside versions, but at a fraction of the cost. Many “Napa” wines will have a small percentage of Sierra Foothills Cab blended in to help bring down the cost without sacrificing quality.
FOOTHILLS WINO CABERNET SAUVIGNON OF THE YEAR
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Lava Cap would have the Top Cabernet Sauvignon given their consistent quality… and a winemaker with bigtime Napa Valley experience. Joe Norman was winemaker at Heitz Cellars and made some legendary wines before coming to the Foothills. This delicious Lava Cap Cab touts fresh fruit and well-integrated oak. It is elegant and nicely structured. This sells out quickly, so grab some when available.
OTHER FAVORITE FOOTHILLS CABERNET SAUVIGNONS
An excellent Cabernet Sauvignon is a rare bird in Amador, but this one is an exception. Currant, mint, and herbs are integrated deliciously with spices, tobacco, and cedar… perfectly structured and balanced.
Complex, yet subtle, nose of black cherries, black plums, chocolate, and herbs with just the right touch of some pyrazines to give the wine pure varietal character … oak is well integrated, and the wine is perfectly balanced (as always with this producer!).
This beautifully structured Cabernet Sauvignon is full of ripe black cherries and plums and mint. Winemaker brothers Tyler and Trevor Grace each make a different version of this wine (no one competes like a pair of brothers!) and both are interesting and a fun comparison.