“Simple ingredients done right.” I’m sure a number of chefs have said those words, but in my mind I hear them whispered by the gentle giant Marco Pierre White. I say these words today because I’m celebrating Laurel Glen Vineyard, a winery whose name is synonymous with Sonoma County Cab simply because (outside of one current release Sauvignon Blanc) that is all they do. They’ve chosen their ingredient, and they’ve done it — to perfection.
About the Wine: Laurel Glen Vineyard, located on the Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen was originally planted in the late 1880s to mixed red varietals. Not until 1968, when the property had its post-Prohibition revival, was the land replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon and these original vines remain on the property today. Interesting fact: in 1977 then-proprietor Patrick Campbell discovered that these original Cabernet Sauvignon plantings were a unique clone — now appropriately named the Laurel Glen clone.
It’s no wonder the winery is so proud of their estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Laurel Glen 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes harvested from the Laurel Glen estate vineyards. Primary fermentation takes place in open-top stainless steel tanks with naturally occurring yeast. The wine is kept on the skins for 9 to 14 days. Once the juice and skins are separated (using gravity flow technique), the wine then moves to Taransaud French oak barrels (50 – 60% new) for at least 18 months.
Flavor Profile: The Laurel Glen Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is sanguine on the pour — thick, gloriously ruby red blood wine flows from bottle to glass. As you pour you’ll be engulfed in an overwhelming aroma of macerated strawberries. Swirl, sniff again, there’s something savory lingering in the background. It could be perceived as black olive — that shiny, almost tin-y-ness black olives have. But to me, it’s a metallic minerality — that kind of metal-y scent one associates with, well, blood. And I mean this complimentary — this wine has a vibrancy, a real life to it, just in sight and scent alone.
First palate impression: this wine is dry. And yet for all its dryness, it’s actually quite soft and delicate. As if those tacky tannins have been sanded down so the wine can just slide from the tip of the tongue to the back of the throat without any catching or clawing. There’s a chewy, meaty, umami-ness to the flavors, while dark fruits (think dried cherries, plums) and earthy notes (think wet wood planks) take a secondary, but very important supporting role. The finish is sold, it’s clean. You’re ready for your next sip.
You know when you drink a young Cab and you’re like, “damn, I should have practiced patience”? This is the Cab you wished you had opened. Young, yes, but it ties the tastes and textures together like a seasoned pro. Enjoy this wine today — there’s no point in waiting it out.
Food Pairing: This wine deserves the juiciest piece of red meat. I paired my Laurel Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon with roasted veal tenderloin (cooked med-rare), slow-roasted red potatoes, and asparagus chips all topped with a red wine jus. Perfect pairing. Enough said.
More Info: I received the Laurel Glen 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon as a sample for review. (Cheers all!) But I have to say this is a wine I’ll be coming back to and would gladly purchase on my own to share with friends and family. If you or your wine drinking friends are “scared” of Cabs — maybe the big boys from Howell Mountain have intimidated you with their boisterousness — fear not, and remember this is Sonoma County not Napa Valley we’re talking about. The wine on these mountains are a bit more, shall we say, friendly.
For more information about Laurel Glen and to purchase wines directly, visit the Laurel Glen Vineyard website.
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