Sunday, April 22, 2007
2004 Tierra Roja Cabernet Sauvignon
Every now and then I have the chance to taste a wine that wows me.  Pictured above, Linda Neal is happy to share her first release of Cabernet Sauvignon with us this week.  Lucky locals and well connected wine professionals will get to enjoy this wine tomorrow at the Taste of Oakville. If you are reading this then you are ahead of the curve by 24 hours. Less than 200 cases made. I recommend that you contact Tierra Roja to get the wine when it is released in the fall. David DeSante is the winemaker and he has let the red earth speak. So often the wines from Napa have been “over-made” with fruit oak and alcohol in a manner that is powerful but not profound. These highly concentrated wines often win the public over by their brute force but lack a sense of place. This a a true estate wine. The wine has bright fruit tones of cherry and cassis, earth tones of Cigar box, saddle leather, lead pencil, minerals and iron create a deep and expressive mouth-feel, Over time in the glass, subtle qualities emerge as the tasting experience expands and notes of cocoa powder, peppermint, licorice, damp wood bark white pepper add to the complexity. Sweet oak spice notes of asian five spice, cinnamon and caramel linger on the finish. The tannins are soft, the acidity is lively. The tasting experience is seamless in its expression, The pleasures of this wine are many, but I find special joy in how the terroir of the red soils of Oakville are captured in the glass and speaks to why these soils and these people are special  97 points
The Oakville estate of Linda Neal is on the Silverado Trail where Oakville Cross Road ends. The red soils of the eastern slope are famous as the source for wines like Screaming Eagle. Quite a bit of the excitement in the potential of Oakville as a site for great Cabernet Sauvignon has been on focused on this eastern part of the appellation not just collectors of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, but people who want to make great wine in Napa have invested in these red soils: Leslie Rudd bought the old Girard site, Joe Harbison has brought a site just to the west of the Screaming Eagle and Garguilo has invested just to the north.  I wish them well and hope they all make wine as good as the Tierra Roja.