2008 Bugay Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate The Empress Sonoma County
 
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2005, 2006, 2007 Bugay
'05, '06, '07 Vintages Member Reviews:

***** Let it age if you will!
I'm certain this wine would age well and increase, but it is so good now that might be a difficult choice. 2 to 3 hours to breathe makes a big difference. Bold, yet smooth, with a wonderful finish. Great wine, great price from Wine Access.
-- Sandra from Hereford, TX

***** Exhilarating find!
Superb Napa Cab. Textbook. I'm very interested to see how it evolves over the next few years. Wish I had bought a case!
-- John from New York, NY

***** Ticked all the boxes
Opened this December 2012 and was very impressed with overall balance and finesse. Bottle age helped over first try. Excellent Cabernet from CA!...would buy again!
-- Mark from Minden, NV

***** Fantastic
This wine is utterly amazing, Nice fruit (cherry and berry) on the front pallet, smooth and delicious on the finish. Absolutely stunning! The only bad part is I only bought one case
-- Randall from Chapin, NC

***** Over the top....
This wine was is truly amazing.....velvety, structured, berries, slight smoke, slight green olives.....we were really blown away. I bought 2 cases to split with 2 friends, but I lost the e-mails that they were "in".....
-- Paul from Center Valley, PA


2008 Bugay Vineyards "The Empress": The Good News and The Bad.

It's been three years since the guys at Arnot-Roberts led us to the top of Crystal Springs Road -- and John Bugay's Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard 2,000 feet up the eastern facing of Spring Mountain. By now, many of you are familiar with the story. Still, an abridged version bears repeating.

Since that afternoon in Duncan Meyers and Nathan Roberts's makeshift winery in that Forestville barn, much has changed at Arnot-Roberts. For the last four years, their tiny production Syrahs and Cabernets have garnered huge scores from Parker and Tanzer, fueling quick sell-outs on 'release day.' A year ago, the guys finally moved out of sleepy Forestville, laying claim to new digs in upscale Healdsburg. Most recently, the San Francisco Chronicle named Duncan and Nathan "Co-Winemakers of the Year." For those of you who have edged your way on to the Arnot-Roberts mailing list, you know all too well that the Chronicle accolade was late in coming.

But when we asked Duncan and Nathan, way back in 2009, how they accounted for the stunningly concentrated, gorgeously focused and delineated reds we'd taste that day, both guys were quick to shine the spotlight elsewhere. Duncan would give the lion's share of the credit to the viticulturalists whose vineyards appeared on each Arnot-Roberts label.

There was Lee Hudson's spread in Carneros. Griffin's Lair on Sonoma Coast. Alder Springs in Mendocino. Clary Ranch. But it would be the last bottle of the day that stole the afternoon thunder. The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon drawn from Bugay Vineyards would be one of the great mountain Cabernets of that cool growing season, a massively compact, briary powerhouse, framed by top-pedigree, dusty tannins. Before we left -- as many of you recall -- Nathan made the call on our behalf. The following morning, we'd wind our way to the top of the mountain, pass through the huge metal gate that opened not so much out -- but up, like the mouth of a whale -- curving our way into the courtyard large enough to house 200 Toyota Corollas like the one we were driving. There, we met John Bugay, setting off a WineAccess mountain Cabernet Sauvignon love affair unlike anything we've ever known.

That Arnot-Roberts Cabernet Sauvignon was drawn from a few rows at the very top of this startling property. The slope is back-breakingly steep. In copious vintages like 2005, the vines barely push out 3 tons per acre of BB-sized fruit. In shorter vintages like 2006, John Bugay is lucky to eke out two. But in 2008 -- the tiniest harvest of the decade -- Bugay would bring in just 1.5 tons per acre of the most stunningly concentrated, firmly structured Cabernet Sauvignon in the history of Arnot-Roberts' handpicked oasis.

The 2005, 2006 and 2007 Bugay Vineyards "The Empress" garnered 330 5-star ratings from WineAccess members -- far and away the highest tally of any mountain Cabernet Sauvignon in the history of our little website. The aggregate rating of 4.08 stars out of five is, again, a record. But neither the classically-structured 2005, the compact 2006, nor the more voluptuous 2007 holds a candle to this tiny production of the 2008 "The Empress" -- a Cabernet that stands awfully tall against the Howell Mountain elite.

Opaque purple/black in color, with piercing aromas of blackberry, licorice, and mint, tinged with sweet mountain herbs. Powerfully concentrated, dense and chewy in texture, the attack is at once black fruit juicy, vibrant and focused, packed with blackberry preserves, splashed with crème-de-cassis, all buttressed by the fine, youthful tannins of the mountain.


Tasting Notes

2008 Bugay Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate The Empress Sonoma County
"Opaque purple/black in color, with piercing aromas of blackberry, licorice, and mint, tinged with sweet mountain herbs. Powerfully concentrated, dense and chewy in texture, the attack is at once black fruit juicy, vibrant and focused, packed with blackberry preserves, splashed with crème-de-cassis, all buttressed by the fine, youthful tannins of the mountain. Drink now-2025."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

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