2007 pureCru Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
 
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Winemaker Mitch Cosentino Just to Make Sure You're Paying Attention

Mitch Cosentino has a bloodhound's nose for prime-time Cabernet patches. In the early 1980s, Cosentino was the first to shine a bright light on the chiseled elegance of Yountville's most storied vineyard. That '83 Napanook Cabernet Sauvignon would be the first to come off what's now Dominus's First Growth stronghold.

Fourteen years later, Cosentino's Gemstone would again set the valley on its ear. Like all of Mitch's Cabernets, that 1997 Gemstone married lush primary fruit concentration with firmly chiseled underpinnings. Cosentino's 1997 is still fetching triple figures on the aftermarket, years after many of the vintage's Cabs have given up the ship.

But even Cosentino, who has lived through the growing season drama of thirty Napa harvests, was stumped when we asked him to draw a comparison to the 2007 vintage. "We had a really long, really mild growing season. Everything ripened well. But up in the western part of Yountville, Arnold Vallerga's Cab spot had incredible ripeness AND phenomenal balance." Mitch sat back, swirling the big Riedel stem one-third full with this extravagant 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. "Often in Napa, we have great fruit intensity. Sometimes, we get great structure and power. But in 2007, in Yountville's best spots, we got both."

Cosentino's newly-released 2007 pureCru Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep purple mix of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% juicy, high-toned Cabernet Franc. The nose is beautifully focused and restrained, a plump blend of blackberry and dark cherry preserves, gently laced with new wood cedar. The attack is rich, lush and warm, infused with black fruit preserves, polished with supple tannin elegance.

Cosentino explained why. "The summer was mild and very dry. Vallerga jokes that he's more of a rock grower than a grape grower, and that summer his vineyard barely pushed out two tons per acre. We had high sugars, firm acids and ripe tannins. What else can a winemaker ask for?" Almost everyone made good Napa Cabernet Sauvignon in 2007, but few pushed the envelope in the cellar as Cosentino did.

Each parcel was picked, sorted and separately barrel-fermented in a mix of new, one- and two-year-old cooperage. While most in the valley pushed their wines along, bottling 20 months after harvest, Cosentino took a page out of the old Caymus Reserve recipe book, waiting 36 months before bottling in the winter of 2010. Then Mitch Cosentino would give his 2007 pureCru two more years in bottle before bringing what may well be his finest Cabernet Sauvignon in three decades to market.

Don't let the frivolity of the label fool you. Nor today's price tag. This is not only a very serious (bargain) look at the phenomenal 2007 vintage in Napa Valley -- but a brilliant interpretation of the rock-strewn western hills of Yountville, and the artisanal Cabernet-making style of the inimitable Mitch Cosentino.


P.S. We're pulling for Ed Reed … but we have the 49ers by 4.


Tasting Notes

2007 pureCru Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
"A deep purple mix of 80% muscular Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% juicy, high-toned Cabernet Franc. Beautifully focused and elegant on the nose, a plump blend of blackberry and dark cherry preserves, gently laced with new wood cedar. The attack is rich, lush and warm, infused with black fruit preserves, bracketed by supple tannin elegance. The lengthy stay in barrel has provided a lovely balance between power and polished suppleness. Drink now-2018."
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