A Meaty Red
2005 Block 21 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
Located on the edge of Sonoma County's Russian River Valley, Merriam specializes in forcing Bordeaux grapes to struggle by planting them in a cool, little microclimate, resulting in intense flavors that are somewhat unusual for California wines. Although it is positioned near one of Sonoma County's hottest growing regions, at Merriam's estate the temperatures tend to stay unusually cool, thanks to the fog that rolls up the Russian River. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, the winery produces Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The 2005 Block 21 Cabernet is rich and full-bodied with cranberries, currants, cedar, vanilla and spice on the nose. In the mouth it offers a burst of sweet fruit flavor up front, with darker chocolate, coffee and earthy notes at the back of the palate. The finish is a little short for a wine of such big body, but it offers interesting, faintly gamey notes along with more chocolate and cedar. Full-flavored enough to drink on its own, the wine would pair nicely with hearty, masculine dishes like seared venison, buffalo burgers or a simple, grilled steak. Its ripe berry element will also make it an interesting accompaniment to cheese or even a plate of dark chocolate truffles.
Other Cabernet Sauvignon wines we have tasted
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For more information, visit www.merriamvineyards.com