Tasting Report: 2009 California Cabernet Barrel Samples

The first previews of California’s 2009 cabernet sauvignon vintage were held last week, and in the battle of man vs. wine, man won. Below you’ll find notes and early ratings on 71 wines, mostly barrel samples from the upcoming ’09 vintage.

Overall, I found these wines to be restrained, with a similar consistency, herbal, rich and quite tannic, with not a lot of fruit to go around. Still, exceptions were to be found, some big and jammy fruit bombs trying to really pump up the berry character through any means necessary.

Some clear favorites stood out, including the wonderfully balanced Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill bottling, and Sojourn’s quirky 2009, which offers a panoply of flavors you rarely find all in one place. Also keep an eye out for newcomer Mario Bazan and boutique winemaker Hendry Ranch.

Specific bottlings were, in many cases, not indicated, so some of the wines below could represent single-vineyard or reserve releases when they ultimately hit the shelves.

2009 California Cabernet Sauvignon Preview (plus a few older wines sampled)

2009 Adelaida Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

2009 Amapola Creek Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

2009 Arns Cabernet Sauvignon / B- ultra jammy

2009 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Ashe Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

2009 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon / A- juicier, nice

2009 Baldacci Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ green, tomatoes, olive oil finish

2009 Barnett Cabernet Sauvignon / A- smoke and chocolate

2009 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ bright plum, cocoa finish

2009 Blue Rock Cabernet Sauvignon / B- ripe

2009 Briar Rose Cabernet Sauvignon / C+ unbalanced

2009 Buoncristiani Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Cain Cabernet Sauvignon / C-

2009 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

2009 Charles Krug-Peter Mondavi Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon / B-

2009 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Poetry / B-

2009 Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ sharp

2009 Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon / A- cocoa nibs, coffee

2009 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill / A- great balance, wonderful chocolate notes

2007 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill / A

2009 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Frias Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ very jammy

2009 Gargiulo Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Grassi Cabernet Sauvignon / B hugely herbal

2009 Guilliams Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / B soft with a cheese-scented finish

2009 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ in a lighter style

2009 Hendry Ranch Winery Cabernet Sauvignon / A- cocoa and raspberry, very nice

2009 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon / A- big fruit

2006 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon / A- big fruit

2009 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ sweetish finish

2009 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ admirable

2009 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon / B earthy

2009 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon / B milk chocolate

2009 Mario Bazan Cabernet Sauvignon / A- surprising, where did this brand come from

2006 Mario Bazan Cabernet Sauvignon / A lush, incredible black fruit character

2009 Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon / A- nice balance here

2009 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon / A- mellow chocolate

2009 Mi Sueño Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ sharper

2009 Most Wanted Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon / C gone wrong

2009 O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon / B shows promise, not there yet

2006 O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder / A-

2009 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Piña Cabernet Sauvignon / B thickly tannic

2009 Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ blackberry, grows on you

2009 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ lots of promise

2009 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ easygoing

2009 Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

2009 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon / B wild, green notes

2009 Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon / A- cocoa hefty, v. good for Silverado

2009 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ limited fruit

2009 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon / A very interesting, unique, lots of legs

2006 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve / A

2009 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon / B- bitter edge

2009 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon / C

2009 Sullivan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Terlato Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

2009 The Grade Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ tart

2009 Titus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / B

2009 Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon / B nice finish

2009 Tudal Cabernet Sauvignon / B- tropical fruit notes

2009 Ty Caton Cabernet Sauvignon / A- lovely balance, nuanced

2009 Varozza Cabernet Sauvignon / B-

2009 Viader Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ soft

2009 Vineyard 7 & 8 Cabernet Sauvignon / B- not coming together

2009 Volker Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon / B- tough

2009 White Cottage Cabernet Sauvignon / C-

2009 William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

2009 ZD Wines Cabernet Sauvignon / B+ green

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4 Responses to Tasting Report: 2009 California Cabernet Barrel Samples

  1. Lisa Mattson

    Dear Christopher,

    Thanks for posting about your experience at the California Cabernet Society event. I’m glad to have found you via Google, and look forward to staying in touch via Facebook and our video blog. (Already liked DRINKHACKER a few weeks ago.) Please let me know what you think of our videography. We will be posting a video about the CCS event within the next couple weeks; we volunteered our services there and you’d be welcome to embed it into your blog if you wish.

    Best,
    Lisa Mattson
    http://blog.jordanwinery.com

  2. Pingback: Review: 2009 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles | Drinkhacker.com

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