2007 Saddleback Cellars Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

Mission Codename: 2007th Heaven

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Saddleback Cellars, a Wine Spies Operative favorite, to procure the latest vintage of their exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Saddleback Cellars

Wine Subject: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Winemaker: Nils Venge

Backgrounder: The Oakville AVA, centrally located and adjacent to Napa Valley’s famous Rutherford AVA, was established in July 1993. Oakville is considered one of the most diverse AVA’s in the Napa area and grows some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in California. This wine is produced by the famed Nils Venge who is widely considered to be one of the best Cabernet winemakers in the region and is aptly named the ‘King of Cabernet’. In 1982, Nils was the first California winemaker to win a 100 point score from Robert Parker, Jr.

2007 Vintage Report: 2007 was a remarkable vintage for California red wines. Robert Parker, Jr. gave the 2007 vintage a stunning 96 points for all Northern California red wines. This is the highest score for a vintage in over a decade. Wines from 2007 – which are in shorter and shorter supply – have been almost universally superb. When we showcase a stellar 2007, please be sure to stock up.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark garnet with even coloration. At the heart of the wine, it shows a inky and dark purple. After spinning the wine, wine-stained tears form high up on the glass wall. They hang there for a moment, before moving slowly downward.

Smell – The nose elicits soft, woodsy, toasty notes, accompanied by black cherry, blackberry, dark plum, red licorice, cotton candy, sweet spice, toasty oak and a hint of tobacco leaf.

Feel – Soft tannins with a warm, inviting mouth feel. The wine is smooth, soft and well-rounded on the palate.

Taste – Bold black cherry, dark plum, blackberry meld with earthy dried leaves, supple leather and dried tobacco leaf. As the wine opens up, it also reveals sweet spice, cigar box and a hint of dried Mission fig.

Finish – Smooth and softly dry with a very long- lasting finish that contains rich, red and black fruits that linger on the palate.

Conclusion – Simply divine, today’s 2007 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is a very approachable, easy-drinking wine with plenty of character. It is immediately apparent that the tannins, acids and alcohol are all evenly balanced. This wine’s supple tannins are backed delicious fruit. While it pairs nicely with rich, Italian foods in red sauces, as well as steaks and meats, it also drinks well on its own. Food is not necessary to enjoy this easy-drinking Cabernet, however. It is a well-balanced wine that will not compete with food, much less overwhelm it. This ready to enjoy wine provides a lovely blend of smooth, dry tannins and well-ripened, dark-red fruits. Though it drinks quite well at present, this wine will age well and will likely improve even further with cellaring.

WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT RED: Thanks for being back with us, on another mission, Nils! Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

NILS VENGE: Thanks, Red. Our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is primarily from our Oakville estate in the Napa Valley. We have held onto this vintage for all these years to age beautifully in our cellars.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

NILS: Grilled Rib Eye Steaks.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Oakville AVA – and your vineyard – such a special place for Cabernet Sauvignon?

NILS: Oakville is known for its outstanding terrior that embodies certain characteristics and qualities in our wine. It is consistently a prime location for growing and maturing the grapes.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

NILS: Barrel sampling and consulting for other wineries.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Saddleback Cellarscan be seen in this satellite photo.

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