Dry Creek Valley is known for zinfandel, and with generally good reason, as the valley is so warm in the summer that few other varieties fare well. However, this view misses an important point: the “valley” AVA actually includes the steep hillsides that surround the valley floor, where fog and elevation moderate temperatures and rocky, impoverished soils force the vines to struggle, producing concentrated, flavorful grapes. This can result in stunning Cabernet Sauvignon that has structure and power, and best of all, actually tastes like Cabernet. Today’s wine is an example of Dry Creek hillside Cabernet at its finest, combining power, elegance, and balance into a wine of great depth and character.
The 2003 Collier Falls “Hillside Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from extremely steep, rocky vineyards high in the hills in the far Northwest Dry Creek Valley. A tiny percentage of Petit Verdot and Cabernet franc are blended in to add complexity. Deep purple in color, the nose explodes with crème de cassis, leather, tobacco, graphite, sassafras, and an incredibly beautiful aroma of violets. This wine is in a beautiful place, with the nose showing a little bit of age, yet remaining fresh. The palate is equally lively and vibrant, with black cherry, fresh blackberry, leather, and the slightest hint of capsicum. At this age, the wine is very smooth, and yet it still possesses a backbone of firm tannins that indicate it can still age for several years. The finish shows incredible depth, going on and on, drawing you in for more. This is so balanced that it can go with a wide range of food, but it would be perfect with braised meat or beef stew.
Harvest Dates: September 19, 2003
Average Degree Brix: 26
Bottling Date: September 2005
Release Date: December 2007
Blend: 98% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Estate Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot
Aging: 22 months in 100% French oak barrels
Fermentation: Closed top, aerative pump-overs
Skin Contact: 45 days (alcoholic fermentation & extended maceration)
Racked: 5 times previous to bottling
Total Cases Made: 1100 750ml
Collier Falls Vineyard is a 100-acre hillside property, located in the northwest corner of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, California. The property was purchased in 1997 by Barry and Susan Collier from Don and Rhonda Carano of Ferrari-Carano Winery. Originally planted in 1982 as an eight-acre Zinfandel vineyard, Collier Falls expanded its vineyards in 1997 with eight more acres of Primitivo. In 1998, ten additional acres were planted, three to Zinfandel and seven to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. A sixty-foot waterfall on the property gives this wine its name, but hillside vineyards tucked into the northwest corner of the valley provide its true character. Vines densely planted on terraces of rocky clay soil compete with each other for nutrients, giving the grapes complexity, while hot days and cool nights create the perfect microclimate for Dry Creek Zinfandel. Hand-harvested grapes, delicately crushed, give the winemaker juice concentrated with flavors of red berry and spice. Aging in both French and American oak barrels creates balance and distinctiveness. Collier Falls produces annual private reserve bottlings of 1500 cases of estate-bottled Zinfandel, 300 cases of an estate Primitivo, less than 1000 cases of the "Hillside-Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon and 100 cases of a "Hillside-Estate" Petite Sirah.
More at www.collierfalls.com.