90 points - Wine Enthusiast
The 2005 Owl Ridge Brigden Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is deep garnet in color, with just a hint of bricking at the rim. Interestingly, in both appearance and on the nose, the 2005 seems a little bit more mature than the 2004 we tasted earlier in the year, which just means that the 2005 is ready to go now, and doesn’t need to be cellared to bring out Cabernet’s beautiful leather and tobacco notes. Speaking of which, the nose is loaded with leather and tobacco, along with black cherry, brambly blackberry, and dark chocolate. The palate shows cherry, mint, cassis, plum, and more leather, with silky smooth tannin and wonderful acidity. This is a great example of a mature California Cab that has plenty of ripeness yet remains balanced. Enjoy this one over the next couple of years and take advantage of the fact that Owl Ridge has perfectly cellared it for you!
Vineyard, Vineyard & Winemaking Notes:
2005 vintage was characterized by a cool long growing season marked with maximum temperatures in the mid-80’s. The Brigden vineyard had a very nice crop set, but due to the cool temperatures it was clear that the fruit would not ripen in the quantities that the vines carried. While it was distressing to reduce the fruit load, the vineyard owner, Michael Brigden, agreed to drop half the fruit in the vineyard and reduce the clusters to one for every shoot position. This had the intended effect of allowing the remainder of the fruit to develop intense flavors.
The fruit was harvested on October 23. It was destemmed, crushed and placed into a closed top tank for three days of chilling. At that point it was inoculated with yeast. The wine fermented for 10 days at moderate temperatures and was left on the skins after fermentation for 16 days of extended maceration. This resulted in added richness and mouth feel, while preserving the intense aromatics that have characterized previous vintages. The wine was gently pressed just before Thanksgiving, settled in tank overnight and put to barrel, where it aged for nearly two years. All French oak was used - approximately 40% new.
Vineyard: Brigden Vineyard
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Sonoma County
Production: 256 cases
Owl Ridge Wines began to take advantage of the high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grown in Sonoma County. Winemaker Joe Otos uses 100% French oak and winemaking techniques that preserve the intensity of the fruit flavors. The resulting wines are big, but balanced wines.
They have now reached the point where their wines have begun to achieve the recognition they deserve. Owl Ridge Wines was voted "Best New Winery" at the 2006 Wine Literary Awards Tasting. This is a significant honor because more than 80 wine writers voted in a secret ballot at a tasting that had 1000 wines.
Owl Ridge has won more than 18 gold medals in the last year at major competitions. This includes two "Best of Class" awards.