Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

We opened this classic Napa wine during a downpour!  We were hunkered down and ready to spend the night eating and drinking and enjoying good company.  By the end of the night, we had succeeded at all of the above.

First impression on the nose gives away the Cab Franc in this blend; the wine is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc.  Up front the CF shows because of the the pine and herbaceous or vine characteristics, where a straight Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot blend will be more fruit driven.  It is not that the wine is unripe, or green, but these features are present.

Upon tasting the wine shows off its sleek body of svelte tannins and classic Napa Cabernet red fruits.  It has a nice dark mid-palate with a little nettle and sour cherry, the finish is strong and balanced.  We had it with lamb and a mint salsa verde that was of indian influence, and the pairing sang.  It had a nice vanilla and woody toast to it that is well integrated and prominent.  As the wine got some additional air it showed a sweet cherry nose, dark chocolate and long chain tannins.  It is a classic vintage and a good wine that comes across as middle weight on the palate with a plus size flavor profile.

There is a pattern that I'm noticing in good Napa Cabernet producers who have;   a. been around for a while, b. have a moderate sized production, and c. more than one vineyard source.  (B and c are closely related, but important.)  The wine tends to migrate towards a very attractive style of wine, but doesn't necessarily have a unique profile.  Nobody wants to say that they are like anybody else, so you won't hear it, but this is something to keep in the back of your mind when you taste wines with production above 10K cases (or so) for one bottling.

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December 2009
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