2005 Simi Winery Alexander Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Wine Intrigue Awards
Operative’s Choice: Top Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Codename: Simi, Hear me
Operative: Agent Noir
Objective: Return to Simi Winery, acquire as many bottles of their limited Reserve Cabernet as possible
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Simi Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Alexander Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Steve Reeder
Today’s Cabernet Sauvignon comes to us from our goood friends at Simi Winery, in Sonoma, California. Grown in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, today’s wine is a delicious Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Simi’s own premium vineyard sources
Alexander Valley in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but recently people are starting to discover its Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Chardonnay as well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Very dark, with a red/black hue, almost no light gets through the middle and the edges gleam with hints of purple. The dark garnet coats the glass and lets you know this is a full Cabernet Sauvignon that means business. There are nice legs and they roll slowly down the side of the glass with lots of glycerin.
Smell – The bouquet is full with lots of smoky sweet oak, giving you a hint that this big wine was made using high quality French barrels. It smells lavish and classy with subtle floral notes and a build up of intense dark fruits as it gets air.
Feel – The palate is powerful, rich and bold, a modern new world Cabernet in texture and class, but with smooth ripe tannins that while holding it together. The bold feels easily fades to the background and the mouth feels thick and rounded.
Taste – This wine invades the mouth and fills the palate with classic Cabernet flavors and richness with lots of black and red fruits coming in wave after wave. Blackberry, currants, plum and dark cherry are all there along with chocolate, crème de cassis, melted licorice, mint leaves, tobacco, cedar and lots and lots of sweet oak shadings.
Finish – The finish of this big Cabernet is long and robust with lingering black currant, sweet and savory notes, low acidity. While you feel some tannins and know this is a powerful wine, nothing aggressive shows through on the finish. The last thing you get is the vanilla from that good new oak, though it is all good and not over the top.
Overall – This Cabernet has what it takes to live with the big boys. It even blows some of them away, leaving a very good impression that will make your friends beg for more. This wine will turn some heads and it really demands attention with focused details, great depth and balance. This wine is drinking great now and should go another 5 years from now with no problem, though it might be hard to wait as good as it is.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Susan Lueker
DATE OF BIRTH: August/1964
PLACE OF BIRTH: Little Rock, Arkansas
WINE EDUCATION: University of Missouri, UCD
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Always in Sonoma County. Started at Hacienda Winery in Sonoma Valley, brief stint at KJ in Geyserville, 7 years at Dry Creek Vineyard and 9 years at Simi
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Keep it simple, let the fruit speak for itself, try not to overwhelm fruit with oak, I like higher acids makes the wine work better with food and keeps flavors lively
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Love Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: I think I’m still waiting for that, I love it when people really enjoy the wine and want to drink more.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: I just did a winemaker dinner, actually I think the wine was the fluff with Tom Colichio and John Legend in New York. Simi’s wines show perfectly with the food, John sang for our dessert. Sweet!
WINEMAKER QUOTE: I’ve got the best job in the world, I love what I do, I hope it shows in the wine.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Susan. We are thrilled to be showing your 2005 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SUSAN LUEKER: It’s great to be back with you, Red!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SUSAN: I do remember a few wine stained sunsets that were magnificent, all the best times in my life have been associated with the consumption of wine. Wine just makes good times brighter
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
SUSAN: some at school, UCD, but mostly on the job. Watching color and aromas develop during pumpovers, putting your back into punch down. I also liked to think the things we did in the cellar had a positive impact on the wine. Topping barrels to keep them fresh and healthy, inoculating fermentations to be able to sleep. Experimenting every year to find something new and better for the wine. Tasting to see development, blending to make the best wine possible.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
SUSAN: Keep it simple, don’t over think it. Start with the best grapes available use the yeast that will give you the flavor/structure character you want, keep your barrels/tanks topped and the wine healthy.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SUSAN: Hard to say, I really respect everyone I’ve been fortunate to work with and I think they’ve all shaped my winemaking…. Eric Laumann, John Hawley, Larry Levine, Miro Tcholakov, Nick Goldschmidt, and Steve Reeder. They all have unique styles and place more emphasis on different processes.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
SUSAN: 18 years?? Is that possible?
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SUSAN: I enjoy the process, but the end product is for the consumer. I like to think the wine is enjoyed with a great meal, but it could easily go with sitting on the porch watching life go by.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
SUSAN: You’ll need to like to work hard, playing hard is not bad either.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SUSAN: Getting wines ready for bottling. And getting all the 09 wines tucked in for Christmas break.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
SUSAN: I love watching football on Sundays from a bar stool.
RED: What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
SUSAN: I’m really enjoying a friends GSM at the moment. It’s really a seasonal thing for me.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
SUSAN: Look for the good in it, it’s meant to be enjoyed not dissected
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
SUSAN: Champagne, Brut Rose is my fave, possibly from Krug
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
SUSAN: I always like to ask people what they had to drink last night with dinner. I had a margarita with Mexican food
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
SUSAN: Thanks, good, interesting questions. Keep enjoying the wine. Thanks, again.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Simi Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.