Ehlers Estate2003 Cabernet Sauvignon 1886, Estate
(St. Helena ~ Napa Valley)
This once beleaguered winery that suffered under absentee ownership, questionable management, and revolving door winemakers, seemingly has finally gotten its stuff together. With the addition a couple of years ago of winemaker Rudy Zuidema and a new and apparently competent front office team, Ehlers now has to be taken seriously.
And with this 2003 Cabernet, I think the winery has a winner. There’s sandlewood, black cherry and stewed fruit notes in the nose, while the palette exhibits a warm and fuzzy feel with some bittersweet chocolate (I’d say it’s about at a 60% cocoa quotient), and interesting complexity from earth and tar. The wine has great balance and fills the mouth with goodness. Hold onto it for a year and then watch it mature over a 20-year period.
The vineyard was farmed organically as well as biodynamically. The fruit was picked at 24.9 brix, 70% new French oak was used for 20 months, and 700 cases were produced.
With everything finally in place here, just to the east of Highway 29 and a couple of miles north of downtown St. Helena, Ehlers looks as if it’s become a player.
Reviewed July 3, 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.