Hidden Ridge 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Dave and I splurged this weekend and opened a bottle of 2004 Hidden Ridge Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (to pair with the Beef Brisket he cooked for us on Sunday night). This wine is not currently available, but you can find the 2008 and 2009 Hidden Ridge 55% Slope Cabernet Sauvignon for $45. I have had both — and they are a huge value for the $45 price tag, as they drink more like a $75 bottle of wine. But I digress — the 2004 vintage received a 92 from Wine Spectator. Sadly, this was our last bottle, but we will be buying more of the 2008 and 2009 soon!!

The Hidden Ridge Vineyard is located between Santa Rosa and St. Helena in the Mayacama Mountains separating Sonoma and Napa Counties (the winery’s closest neighbors are Pride and Paloma — not bad company considering both are very prestigious Napa wineries making wine that costs much more than $45). Currently, there are 165 acres with 55 acres planted as steep as 55%. Cassidy Ward and Lynn Hofacket purchased the property (a former hunting lodge) in 1991 with the purpose of building their dream home. They quickly discovered, however, that the property was much more suited to grapes than residential pursuits. Thus, the winery began a long, slow process of clearing the land, planting, and making wine. Finally, in 2001, after finding that the Cabernet grape flourished on the mountaion slopes, the winery began with a small, “experimental” production. Today, the winery makes 3,600 cases, still very small in the world of CA wine.

We decanted the wine for an hour before drinking. The 2004 began with a very aromatic nose of hazelnut, coffee, dark chocolate, plum, blueberry, blackberry patch, and a hint of violets. Smooth, smooth — with very bright fruit, surprisingly bright for a wine of this age. Flavors of blueberry, blackberry, and coffee dominated with a rich, dark chocolate finish. The wine was extremely balanced — again a bit of surprise for me as I thought the tannins might overtake the fruit at this stage in the wine’s development. If you are lucky enough to find this vintage, grab a few bottles as it has a few more years left. If not, you will love the 2008 or 2009 too!

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