2010 Forth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon All Boys Dry Creek Valley
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Gerry Forth Cabernet and 48-hour Short Ribs at Charlie Palmer's

We'd heard quite a bit about Gerry Forth's hillside vineyards and his rigorous farming protocol, but we'd never tasted one of Forth's award-winning Cabernets. But, three weeks ago, while dining at Charlie Palmer's place in Healdsburg, we got our first taste of Forth's superb 2010. It wouldn't take long to figure out what the critical buzz is all about.

In most vintages, Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley is Zinfandel country. With its deep clay soils, old-vine Zinfandel soaks up the summer heat, as deep root structure fends off hydric stress. But in unusually cool, drawn-out growing seasons, Zinfandel takes a backseat to broad-shouldered Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2010 -- one of the coldest growing seasons on record -- two of Dry Creek's most acclaimed Cabernet makers had a field day. The first was Rafanelli. The second was Gerry Forth.

The Forth Vineyard is divided into three blocks, named after Gerry and Jann's children. The heavy clay of Joshua's Vineyard was first planted in the late 1800s. Moderately steep with perfect southern exposure, Forth replanted the site to Cabernet in 1992. Because of the heavy soil and limited water supply, Gerry chose drought-resistant rootstock that "self-regulates its yield." In the chilly 2010 vintage, Forth eked out just 3 tons per acre of small berry clusters, strewn with thick skin berries. Natural maturity was near perfect, but most importantly for Dry Creek, seeds were brown, acids were firm, and tannins were ripe and refined.

Rebecca's Vineyard produces exquisite, complex fruit from its rough, rocky, sun-washed terraces. The deep color and intense flavors of 2010 burst from low yields and small berries.

The third Cabernet block is one of the most stunning vineyard sites in Dry Creek. Benjamin's Vineyard sits on sandy red topsoil, the result of decomposition of the underlying sandstone. The high iron content of the soil is magical for Bordeaux varieties. Due to an independent water source perched on top of the bedrock, Benjamin's Vineyard is dry-farmed, providing the dense concentration and spicy core of Forth's 2010.

Paired with Charlie Palmer's 48-hour short ribs, this Napa look-alike was purple/black in color, infused with a racy mix of black fruit preserves, black cherry, violets and sweet spice. Rich and compact on the attack with fine density and high-toned vibrancy, braced by suave tannin backbone.

$28 on release. Nearly HALF price this morning for reasons better left unsaid. Shipping included on 6. The last 96 cases are up for grabs.

Tasting Notes

2010 Forth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon All Boys Dry Creek Valley
"Deep purple/black to the rim, infused with a racy mix of black fruit preserves, black cherry and sweet spice. Rich, dense and compact on the attack, packed with blackberries and mountain blueberries, the finish is firm and vibrant, braced by ripe tannin backbone. Drink now for its Napa-like primary fruit opulence or lay this one down for 4-6 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log


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