Slaughterhouse Cellars2003 Cabernet Sauvignon , Estate
(Rutherford ~ Napa Valley)
This is a classic Rutherford Cabernet. After I tasted it, I immediately went to the tech notes and came up with this to prove the point: the pH is a low (for new-age wines) 3.42, and the listed alcohol is 13.63 percent – virtually unheard of any longer in this era of overly mature and over-the-top ripe grapes. The restrained regimen manifests in the glass.
Fine-grained tannins lend texture, while the whole of the wine shows wonderful fruit – not too sweet, and not too dry – while the balance is simply right down the middle. New-World aficionados might be turned away from it, but those that appreciate the way wine used to be made, albeit with modern techniques, this is the wine for us. One has to be patient though. Hold it for about three years and then it’ll reward you over the next 15-20 years.
The wine aged for 20 months in 100 percent French oak, 70 percent of which was new. Alas, there were only 266 cases produced.
Finally, a note about the producer, which might not be familiar to you: This is Slaughterhouse’s seventh release, but for all intents, it’s only the second substantial crop from the vineyard, which is less than 1½ acres located on Highway 29 across from Peju. Jason Fisher is the winemaker, who tutored under Heidi Peterson Barrett at Grace. The owners are David and Margo Slaby. Oh, by the way, the name derives from an actual slaughterhouse that once was on the property.
Reviewed July 20, 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.