Louis M. Martini Winery2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
This is one of the first wines produced after Gallo purchased the old Martini warhorse the previous year. It’s also one of the first wines to be made in the new “micro-winery” that Gallo had installed within the walls of the old winery.
What came out of this new facility which includes expensive, state-of-the-art equipment is perhaps one of the best Cabernet Sauvignons for the price made in the Napa Valley in a long while. The blend was made of grapes from all over the valley, including Martini/Gallo’s own Chiles Valley vineyard, and from Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Calistoga and Pope Valley. Ninety percent of the fruit was de-stemmed whole berry and not crushed.
It’s very well balanced, with gorgeous wild cherry fruit and a round, smooth texture. It’ll age, too, perhaps for as much as 15 years. Only Gallo, which made 50,000 cases of this wine, could afford to produce a wine of this caliber at this price.
The wine spent a year in oak, including 40 percent new French as well as some wood from the U.S. and Hungary. The listed alcohol is 14.2 percent.
Reviewed September 18, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Winery: Louis M. Martini Winery
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.