Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The July installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle this Saturday and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

2005 was a better than average vintage in Napa Valley with near optimal weather. A long, dry growing season without extreme heat allowed the grapes to ripen to perfection. The best wines from the vintage are showing really well at 15 years of age.

The contenders:

  • 2005 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon – The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon emerges from the red soils of the eastern foothills of Oakville. The wine has gorgeously pure blackberry and cassis fruit with a touch of underlying earth and spice box, medium to full-bodied flavors, and seamless integration of acidity, wood, alcohol and tannin. Once again, it provides a gorgeous freshness, precision and stunning youthfulness, despite being ten years of age. Drink through 2035. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2005 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon – The blend was 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. This was the last vintage during the era of Rosemary Cakebread, who left Spottswoode to pursue building her own portfolio of wine. This is a reserved, but classic Spottswoode. An inky bluish purple color, notes of vanillin, white flowers, blackcurrants and blueberries are all present in this dense, rich, full-bodied wine that seems to go from strength to strength. This is a beauty and certainly one of the great recent Spottswoodes. It will continue to drink well for 20-30 more years. 98 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2005 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red– A blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% each Petit Verdot and Malbec. While this might not be the blockbuster one would expect, there is outstanding depth, purity and overall texture and ripeness. Again, terrific acidity gives the wine vigor and precision, despite a lofty 15.2% alcohol. The wine is fresh and pure, with black raspberry and blackcurrant fruit, some white floral notes, and the telltale forest floor. This is a wine to drink over the next 10-15+ years. Pahlmeyer’s wines age well, as I am still working off the 1995 and 1996 Proprietary Reds, which remain in great shape. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2005 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon (45%, 14 Votes)
  • 2005 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (29%, 9 Votes)
  • 2005 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon (26%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the August installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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6 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. Spotswoode sounds wonderful, but I am an Oakville Red Dirt fan, so I would have to go with Dalla Valle!

  2. I picked the Pahlmeyer because it was most likely the least spectacular of the 3. Save the other 2 for another special occasion.

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