Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red in search of a stellar, single-vineyard Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, worthy of our Operative’s exacting tastes.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Muscardini Cellars
Wine Subject: 2009 Madrone Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Michael Muscardini
Backgrounder: Madrone Ridge’s vineyards sit on a sunny 5 acre hillside on the slopes on Arrowhead Mountain. Planted in 1997-1998, the vineyards nestle among the Mayacamas mountains, a low range separating Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Legendary viticulturist John Caldwell consulted through all phases of vineyard construction. John pioneered the use of Madrone Ridge’s French clone rootstock.
The vineyard is in the Sonoma Valley AVA. One of the oldest wine growing regions in California, the first vines being were planted in the early 1800s. The AVAis located along California Route 12 and its eastern boundary are the southern end of the Mayacama mountains. The unique micro-climate with less rainfall and fog than other parts of the region along with its unique soil provides ideal growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Look – Darkest ruby at the edges, transitioning, quickly, to dark garnet at the slightly opaque core. Spin the wine and it settles quickly, leaving behind razor-thin, wine stained tears that rocket down the glass.
Smell – A bold rush of black cherry, candied blackberry and spice rush up to greet the nose. Then, tobacco, leather, toasty oak, bramble, dark dried fall leaves, cigar box and dried truffle follow on.
Feel – Soft and silky-smooth at the entry, then quickly grippy, with plush tannins that spread a mineral-rich dryness from the tip of the tongue to the far corners of the palate. The wine is very well-structured and very balanced on the palate.
Taste – Big black cherry, blackberry and dark cocoa powder meld with dried tobacco, dried black flower petals, brown spice and dried leather. As the wine opens up, dried dark wild strawberry, dusty bramble, dried black plum and earthy toasted oak appear.
Finish – Very long and packed with dark fruit flavors that slowly yield to more exotic, earthy flavors of dried black flowers, spice, cocoa and a hint of black pepper that flavorful, with extended fruit flavors that gradually yield to more subtle earthen flavors.
Conclusion – Recommended!! Today’s 2009 Madrone Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, from our dear friends at Muscardini Cellars, delivers a classic, delicious, bold but balanced wine that rivals the best that Napa Valley has to offer. This generous and, in our opinion, under-priced wine is a remarkable value. Drinking beautifully, now, this 2009 portends get things for the vintage – and for its own future. Drink now, but be certain to cellar a handful of bottles. This wine is built for aging and we’ll be laying down a few bottles for the next decade or more. Pair with a salt and pepper rubbed t-bone off the grill.