2006 Abreu Madrona Ranch

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2006 Abreu Madrona Ranch

Abreu’s first venture with Cabernet Sauvignon was from the Madrona Ranch, which is essentially the lower hillsides of Spring Mountain, just northwest of St. Helena. The dense purple-colored 2006 Madrona Ranch (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot) is extraordinary. Its nose of charcoal, espresso roast, blackberries, cassis, crushed rocks, and white chocolate is followed by a ripe, pure wine with a fabulous mid-palate texture (a characteristic of all these wines), and good balance as well as length. It will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring, and keep for 30 years.

I can’t close without saying that it is unfortunate that the story of viticulturists like David Abreu, who is probably more meticulous and dedicated both to his sites and those he consults with than any other viticulturist I have met in Europe or California, combined with his love of French wines and his obsessive pursuit of world-class wines at his own sites, is a story that still hasn’t been told by enough people. Abreu, among many others, is why California has undergone a historic qualitative revolution over the last twenty years. Yet, in many elitist wine circles, it continues to be ignored despite the overwhelming evidence that many California vineyards are better managed than their European counterparts, and the winemaking and vineyard sites are potentially even grander. Heresy in some circles I know, but as always, the truth is in the bottle. In vino veritas! What a line-up of wines from superstar viticulturist David Abreu and his talented winemaking assistant, Brad Grimes! Abreu draws fruit from four sites that he owns partially or completely - the Capella Vineyard in St. Helena, his 12-acre parcel on Howell Mountain, the Madrona Ranch vineyard slightly northwest of Capella on the lower slopes of Spring Mountain, and the extraordinary Thorevilos Vineyard, which he owns with Ric Foreman. The cuvee with the highest percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Abreu’s 12-acre vineyard on Howell Mountain. David Abreu is proud of this vineyard as it is planted in the red Aiken soils of the region. In addition to approximately 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, the blend includes tiny percentages of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The amount of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot included in these wines appears to be rising dramatically as the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon drops as Abreu and Grimes recognize the potential for Cabernet Franc in selected Napa sites. Its inclusion gives a wine far more singularity and complexity. However, these are all remarkable wines of great richness and individuality from what I’m sure history will confirm in 50-100 years, some extraordinary grand cru-like vineyard sites. There are about 200-250 cases of each of these cuvees, and, as most readers know, about the only way you will latch on to a bottle or two is to get on the winery’s mailing list. The three vintages of Capella tend to be mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but also 20-30% Cabernet Franc and some Petit Verdot are included in the blend. Abreu and Grimes are looking to make Capella their St.-Emilion statement for Napa Valley. As utterly profound as all Abreu’s wines tend to be, one vineyard that seems to just knock me over is the site David Abreu co-owns with Ric Foreman, Thorevilos. The percentages of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot have jumped dramatically, and, like its siblings, it is no longer entitled to be called a Cabernet Sauvignon, but rather is a Proprietary Red.

Robert Parker | 96+ RP

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Vintage 2006
Color Red
Country US: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
Producer Abreu: Robert Parker famously awarded Abreu Vineyards a staggering nine 100-point scores over the recent years. They can express the beauty and power of Cabernet Sauvignon in a way almost no one else can in the whole world, which makes their reds not only popular among collectors but an impactful and meaningful gesture during social situations. Despite focusing on one grape varietal, Abreu Vineyards have been able to bring across a variety of flavor profiles for your enjoyment. From truffles to red, black or blue fruits that explode with an almost tangible crunch, all the way to a thick smokey taste and earthy herbs, the experience is unique each time. The textures unfold slowly in the glass, much like a compelling and dramatic story would, as you discover new details with each sip.
Rating 96+ RP
Region California: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented. Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
Type of Wine California Red: Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
Varietal Proprietary Blend: There's a level of mystery and intrigue when it comes to drinking a wine for which you're not fully informed about, and if that sounds like a thrilling idea to you, then you're probably already interested in proprietary blends. While the concept doesn't have a legal definition, it is used to describe blends whose components aren't disclosed by the producer. In many cases, the wine tends to be a Bordeaux-inspired blend, but this isn't always the case.
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