Conn Creek Winery2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hozhoni Vineyard
(Rutherford ~ Napa Valley)
This is one of the first releases in a series of single-vineyard Cabernets that winemaker Jeff McBride has identified for his Napa Valley appellation program. When he’s through, McBride hopes to have a Cabernet from one vineyard in every one of the 15 sub-appellations of the Napa Valley. It’s a daunting task, made more so in that McBride will treat each lot the same in the cellar in order to mitigate winemaker manipulation, and to elevate the expression of the vineyard in each of those appellations.
For instance, each five-ton lot of grapes is kept separately. In addition to picking at about 24.5 Brix from each vineyard, the grapes are kept in 1-year-old French barrels for 28 months and each is fermented with the same neutral yeast.
This wine is from the Hozhoni (ho-ZHO-nee) Vineyard located on the eastern side of the Silverado Trail. Typical of the region, the wine expresses lots of aromatics with red fruits such as plum and currants. There’s a spot of oak and cinnamon and the texture is silky with bright fruit. It’s a tad hot (the listed alcohol is 14.7 percent) and there’s black pepper, fine-grained tannins and good balance. Hold onto it for a year and then drink it over the next dozen. There were only 120 cases produced.
Reviewed November 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.