Review: A pair of Trefethen Cabs

Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape which has defined the Napa region more than any other grape and for many good reasons. The climate and soil there are perfect for Cabs – hot days with cool nights at decent elevations and with good, fertile soils. Robert Mondavi helped shape the Cab scene in Napa and ever since it has become the Cabernet -capital of the USA wine-making marketplace.

The Trefethen Winery was started years ago by Eugene and Kathy Trefethen, who moved to the Napa area in 1968. They bought a 600-acre plot of land and the rest, as “they say”, is history. Fast-foward a bit to 1979, when they won the title of “Best Chardonnay” and it seemed their future in the wine business was a done-deal.

Fast-forward to 2009 and you’ll see that they produce some award-winning wines that remain true to the terrior of the Napa region at prices that span the full spectrum – this review, however, hones in on their cabs. Steak anyone?

Review: A pair of Trefethen Cabs

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Varietal: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 1% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot
  • Appellation: Oak Knoll District
  • Vineyard: Estate
  • Harvest: Sept. 12–Oct. 15, 2002
  • Oak: 17 months in French & American Oak
  • Alcohol: 14.1% by volume
  • Bottled: May 2004
  • Price: $75
Nose: Vanilla-laced strawberries and cherries along with casis, leather, blackberries and charcoal.
Taste: Profound vanilla notes coming thru from the oak along with the classic Napa Cab flavor notes of cherry, strawberry and plum. Good earthiness to the mouthfeel helps carry the fruit and leather components into the back-end palate transition. This wine is a no-brainer pick for a Rib-Eye steak toped with blue-cheese and mushrooms. A very hearty California Cab that takes no prisoners but can take your wallet for a bid of a ride at $75. If you have the money and want a solid cab that brings a lot to the table then I’d highly encourage you to give this one a whirl.

Nose: Vanilla-laced strawberries and cherries along with casis, leather, blackberries and charcoal.

Taste: Profound vanilla notes coming thru from the oak along with the classic Napa Cab flavor notes of cherry, strawberry and plum. Good earthiness to the mouthfeel helps carry the fruit and leather components into the back-end palate transition. This wine is a no-brainer pick for a Rib-Eye steak toped with blue-cheese and mushrooms. A very hearty California Cab that takes no prisoners but can take your wallet for a bid of a ride at $75. If you have the money and want a solid cab that brings a lot to the table then I’d highly encourage you to give this one a whirl.

2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – W.E.P. Rating: 60%

Technical Data:

  • Varietal: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
  • Appellation: Oak Knoll District
  • Vineyard: 82% Hillspring Vineyard, 18% Main Ranch
  • Vineyard: HarvestSeptember 26 – October 18, 2005
  • Oak: 30 months in French Oak
  • Alcohol: 14.8% by volume
  • Bottled: May 2008
  • Price: $100

Nose: Blackberries, chalk, pomegranate , black cherries, plums, farm dirt, tobacco and cocoa.

Taste: Huge leather-action on the front palette with a healthy dose of black cherries, chocolate, tobacco, road tar and plums for days. A superb mid-palette transition which stays very focused with a hint of “grit” into the back-end of the taste. A good finish that hangs out a long time – clearly a well-crafted wine, however, it’s not worth $100.00 to me as I have had cabs equally as good in the $35-$60 range.

Winery Website: www.trefethen.com