Dark garnet, with staining bricked edges. Big alcoholic nose, mossy wet and dried fruit. Hardwood bark and a vibrant scorched cherry. Decanted hard. With air, a steely wet rock replaces the alcohol and scorch, turning things a lovely mineralific minty vegetal.
As I recall, this is the first commercial Cabernet Sapphire Hill made, and it was discussed whether to do it again. I tasted it on a fluke, somewhere–can’t remember–but I couldn’t buy it. Tracked down almost a case at my Healdsburg wine-source and bought all they had. Asked him to re-order. Went to the winery and they were sold out. Wine-shop gets in another 6-pack, I drive back to Healdsburg and buy them all. He marked the price up on this second batch, the bastard! *whatever the market will bear* I went back to Sapphire Hill and started asking about futures. See, this is one of the few wineries who still sell futures. See kids, “futures” are a way to buy wine before it…. oh nevermind. Just join your stupid wine-clubs and be sad. Sure enough, they making another cab and futures were available. I got a case. Of course I had to wait three years for them. I actually haven’t tasted those 2012’s yet. But back to this 09.
In the mouth, a dull explosion of berry fruit does a raspy dance through a stew of chewy tannins coated in Boston-Baked-Beans candy shell. This is salted caramel turtles in a glass. Huge bitter tannins take hold late-palate, causing me to wonder if the fruit will hold out long enough. I judged it would when tasted young, and still feel the same way. I know you’ve probably never heard of this winery before–I sure hadn’t–but check them out when you’re in Sonoma County.
2009 SAPPHIRE HILL Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Sonoma County 14.5