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2005 Cabernet Family Andrew's Cuvee
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Gain Bay 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Family, Andrew’s Cuvee is the second release from Location, Elevation & Slope, Inc.  The company’s mission is to locate marketplace opportunities, blend various wines from multiple sources to elevate them, and price them to fit attractively in the budget of target consumers.  The new wine is an outstanding follow up to the premier release, with a slightly different flavor profile.

This wine is a blend of three Bordeaux varieties; Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  Each adds a specific component to the wine that is essential to making it a complete wine, from the bouquet to the finish.


Cabernet Sauvignon (52%) adds mid-palate flavor, body and structure.  It was sourced from two suppliers.  The first part (600 gallons) was purchased by the barrel from a top Napa winery.  The barrel picks spanned the length of the valley – there was no single source.  This component provides background complexity, spice & oak and is perhaps the dominant flavor profile.  The second Cabernet Sauvignon piece (500 gallons) is more mysterious and typifies the unusual nature of negociant based wines.  A sample arrived via one of the bulk wine brokers and I found the soft luxurious fruit to be perfect for this type of wine.  But its’ origins created more of a mystery.  I purchased 500 gallons out of a large tank, and although I am sure it is Napa 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, I don’t know its complete origins.  The tech sheet I received about it later showed the wine to be from 3 sources; a grower based wine, purchased bulk wine from a third party that isn’t listed, and “unknown – Napa Valley.”  What the heck, it tasted fantastic so I bought 500 gallons of this jammy, fruitful wine.  In older days, the exact origins would’ve mattered to me more, but now, maybe less so.  The flavors are becoming more important than the story, which is surprising even me.  Together, the two pieces fit together beautifully to form a central core to the wine.


Cabernet Franc (33%) adds a floral and delicate quality to the wine.  It also offers a subtle background texture, softening the mouth-feel.  This wine was a godsend after my first source dried up at the last possible moment.  The wine is from just above the valley floor, on the alluvial fan of the Mayacamas range just above the Rutherford Bench appellation.  The winery is renowned for Bordeaux style blends.  I bought every drop they had!  This was great Franc.  It was a stunning boon to find and pulls the wine together.  My motto is becoming “More Franc!”


Last in the blend is Merlot (13%).  I didn’t expect to add any Merlot, with the market and all, but after realizing that I needed a second run on 2005, and knowing I couldn’t exactly reproduce the earlier wine, I thought I’d explore what was available.  A friend and I tried 5 cases of Merlot samples in two hours and then went for a pizza.  We found three we really liked and later, one fit the blend.  This Merlot turned out to be from one of Napa’s more famous Merlot wineries.  Past vintages from this estate have consistently garnered 90+ points and other top accolades.  Adding this touch of Merlot altered the fruit profile from just Cabernet Sauvignon based currant/cassis to an additional plum component, which was a refreshing change and a clear demarcation from the previous wine.


Overall: The wine is harmonious (of course!), aromatic, spicy, fruitful and still, just plain old delicious.  Look for a touch of oak to the base of Cabernet Sauvignon spice, deep plum and currant flavors, and a silky lingering finish.


Gain Bay 2005 Cabernet Family Red Blend

TA  6.50 g/L   Alc. 14.7%  PH  3.71  VA .82 g/l  Cases Produced: 828  Suggested Retail Price:  $20.00              Bottled March 25 & 27, 2008            Cab Sauvignon 52%     Cab Franc 33 %     Merlot 15%

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