2005 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
From it s dark ruby color to its layered aromas of black currant, licorice, violets and moist earth, this wine offers classic Alexander Valley character. On the palate, it reveals flavors of wild blueberries, currant, tobacco leaf and licorice, surrounded by gorgeous, balanced tannins and a subtle underlying oak presence.
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Stuhlmuller Vineyards is located at the southern edge of the Alexander Valley, where it converges with two other highly regarded Sonoma County appellations, Chalk Hill and the Russian River Valley. On its eastern edge, the 150-acre vineyard borders the Russian River. Situated in a unique location that is part river benchlands and part hillside, the vineyard benefits from its alluvial gravel soils and the more rocky soils that comprise the hillside sections of the vineyard.
The fruit for this Cabernet Sauvignon emphasizes three different clones, grown on three separate blocks. From the river benchland we use a block of Clone 337 for its fruit forward flavors of cassis and black cherry. On an adjacent block, planted 20 years ago, we grow a field selection from the Belle Terre Vineyard, which produces grapes with tannic concentration and beautiful blue fruit notes. And lastly, from a terraced hillside block we use Clone 7 fruit, which adds floral layers and classic Cabernet cassis and cherry elements to the wine.
The 2005 vintage started with an early bud break. Spring was cool and rainy, followed by a mild summer. Because of the rains we focused on canopy management, leaf pulling and the dropping of green clusters to intensify flavors while creating balanced growth. The season concluded with a welcome Indian summer that ripened the fruit to perfection without creating extremely high sugar levels. Overall 2005 was an exceptional and age-worthy Cabernet vintage.
For fermentation, we used a mix of open-top tanks with manual punching-down of the cap, and closed-top tanks where the must was pumped over. The closed-top tanks were used to create better palate texture, while the open-top tanks were utilized to help retain fruit intensity. We also used 100 percent indigenous yeast to capture a true expression of the vineyard with more earthy character. The wine was racked to 44 percent new French oak barrels, where it underwent malolactic fermentation. Each block was fermented and aged separately for 10 months before the blending. The wine was barrel aged for a total of 24 months.