Brown Estate Winery2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate
This is only the third Cabernet made by this producer, a longtime grower in the underappreciated Chiles Valley appellation of the Napa Valley. And what a beautifully balanced and delicious wine it is.
I say beautifully balanced, in spite of the listed alcohol being a high 15.4%. Tasting it on a hot early June morning (at temperatures which one is loathe to drink any sort of red), I had no idea of the alcohol content, but loved the wine nevertheless. Winemaker David F. Brown, whose family owns the 40-acre estate, did a wonderful job integrating the alcohol, as well as the fine-grained tannins and gorgeous fruit.
The latter comes from Brown’s 8 ½ acres of Cabernet that is located in the eastern hills well inland of the Silverado Trail and above Rutherford. The grapes derive from two different blocks that add brightness and good acidity to this 100 percent Cabernet; as well as from the Terraces Vineyard, also on the Trail in Rutherford. The whole adds up to a wine that is both powerful and restrained all at once. Drink it now or hold onto it for 10 years or so.
The wine was aged for 23 months in 50 percent new French oak and there were only 1,866 cases produced. I know at $72 it’s a bit pricey, but if you can afford it, this is one to try to get a hold of.
Reviewed June 22, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.