It's a long time since we enjoyed a bottle of wine from the Napa Valley and this was given to us by an English friend who worked over in California for a year doing wine analysis. She assisted in the making of the wine, making it doubly interesting to us, so we were pleased last night to partner it with a 12 hour shin of beef cooked with 50 cloves of garlic and a bottle of red wine. The beef also contained lots of cracked black pepper so choosing a wine that would complement these extrememly strong flavours was a hard task. Anything too tannic would have clashed with the levels of heat coming from the pepper and anything less concentrated would have been swept away by the intensity of flavour. So, this led us to the Rubissow Cabernet Sauvignon 2005.
Rubissow Vineyard is the southern-most vineyard in the Mt Veeder AVA, bordering Carneros AVA. Planted at 600-860 ft above sea level, sustainable farming practices are used with small yields, crop thinning and winter cover crops.
To the wine itself - 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Merlot and 1.5% Cabernet Franc, unfined and unfiltered. Upon pouring a sample, the concentration is immediately evident. With a deep, deep rich ruby colour and a touch of brown at the edges it's almost impossible to see through it. On the nose the first thing that is apparent is ripe, ripe fruit with notes of plum, chocolate and blackberry. On the palate, vanilla comes in to play from the 20 months in oak, and the tannins (although evident) are soft. It's very intense and long on the finish. It absolutely needs food and was more than a match for the intense flavours of the beef. At around $75 or £50 a bottle, this is no every day wine. A real departure from our normal drinking style but one which we enjoyed very much.