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2006 Cabernet Family
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Gain Bay 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Family, is the third release from Location, Elevation & Slope, Inc.’s Gain Bay line.  The company’s mission is to locate marketplace opportunities, blend various wines from multiple sources to elevate them, and price them attractively.  The new wine is an outstanding follow up to the previous releases, as it incorporates for the first time, 5 of the Bordeaux varietals at the same price point. As always, each single wine source adds a specific component to the wine that is essential to making it a complete wine, from the bouquet to the finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) is the largest percentage.  It adds mid-palate flavor, body and structure.  It was sourced from four suppliers.  The first part (780 gallons) was purchased from the same source as the 05 Cabernet Family, a silky-smooth cabernet from the Coombsville region just east of Napa city.  The second lot (745 gallons) came from the St. Helena appellation and added complex, plush textures.  The third lot, (120 gallons) came from Mt. Veeder and added crisp, classic Napa hillside Cabernet spice and currant.  The fourth lot (200 gallons) was part of the Merlot blend and impossible to identify.


Malbec (16%) is the second largest piece.  It was really tough to find the correct flavor profile for a Malbec blender; so much is over-oaked in Napa!  I must have tried 25 samples to find one that was correct, with brilliant and vibrant tones of cherry, plum and red fruit.  I found one exceptional producer with quite a lot of wine, and this is the base fruit tone that carries through across the palate.  Source- Rutherford appellation.


Cabernet Franc (15%) adds a floral and delicate quality to the wine.  It also offers a subtle background texture, softening the mouth-feel.  This wine, from the same source as the 05 Andrew’s Cuvee, continues to be a godsend.  The wine is from just above the valley floor, on the alluvial fan of the Mayacamas range and also in the Rutherford appellation.  This was and is great Franc.  My motto is still “More Franc!”  Franc holds together, or bridges the gap, between the fruitiness of the Malbec and the structure of the Cabernet Sauvignon with subtle crossover fruit tones of strawberry and raspberry flavors and a soft structure when made correctly for blending.


Merlot (11%) was a nifty find.  There is a sea of really bad and rough Merlot.  I look for modest structure, ripe tannins and moderate oak – even American oak if necessary, just so long as it’s in the background.  I must have tried 40-50 Merlots again, and only found one that fit in the blend and worthy of being purchased.  This one (600 gallons) included 1/3 Cabernet Sauvignon.  The source turned out to be a colossal winery in the mid-valley, and as the wine was already blended, I don’t know the specific Napa sub-appellations.  Yet once again, I am struck by my own lassiez-faire attitude about these mysterious and unknown wines.  I don’t need to just buy tiny lots or from specific sources, I just try to make the very best wine I can.  This wine added fullness and elegance to the blend.


Lastly, there’s the bomb, Petit Verdot (4%).  Same source as in the 05 Cabernet Family, and I think with the same base Cabernet Sauvignon, it lends to some familiarity and consistency.  This wine powerfully carries the fruit through the long finish.  It is only 120 Gallons from Mt. Veeder, but the wine wouldn’t be complete without it.


Overall: The wine is tremendously fruitful, harmonious, and complex and I still hope just plain old delicious. 


Gain Bay 2006 Cabernet Family Red Blend

TA:  5.90 g/L  Alc.:  14.6%  pH:  3.76  VA: .77 g/L          Cases Produced:  1482       Bottled August 25, 2008    

Cab Sauvignon: 54%     Malbec:  16%     Cabernet Franc:  15 %     Merlot:  11%    

Petit Verdot 4%   

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Location, Elevation & Slope, Inc., 126 "B" Belle View Ave., Petaluma, CA 94952 Phone 707-971-9636