PICK of the RACK: Seven Rings | Cabernet Sauvignon | Oak Knoll District | Napa Valley | California | 2013 | $28 | 89 pts

Seven Rings (2)

89 POINTS | “RECOMMENDED”

Crafted by the California winemaking team of Alison Crowe and Barbara Ignatowski, Seven Rings is named for the number of years it takes for a newly-planted grapevine to begin producing wine-quality fruit. Their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon hails from Oak Knoll District on the southern end of Napa Valley (see map, below), with fruit sourced from the Yeager and Hudson vineyards. Oak Knoll District, recognized as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2004, lies in close proximity to the cool, breezy, and foggy San Pablo Bay above San Francisco. Given its maritime exposure and relatively low elevation (sea level to 800 feet), it is the second coolest appellation in Napa Valley after neighboring Los Carneros. With mid-summer temperatures that can swing from 92°F during the day to 50°F at night, Oak Knoll District enjoys a long growing season and, in terms of the types of varieties that can be successfully farmed there, ranks among the most diverse winegrowing regions in Napa Valley.

Napa Valley 3 (2)

Napa Valley Appellations (Courtesy: Napa Valley Vintners)

Seven Rings is a classy rendition of Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2013 vintage is youthful and energetic — rich and full-bodied — with expressive aromatics of blackberry, fig, tobacco, and violet; followed by flavors that convey ripe black cherry, sweet cured tobacco, dried herbs, and cola; all accented with notions of nutmeg, bitters, and caramelized sugar over a balanced, layered finish. Tannins are assertive — but not overcharged, acidity is moderate, and the oak is spicy and well integrated. With a two-hour decant this youngster can be enjoyed now, but will continue to evolve and improve over the next several years. Serve it with sharp cheeses, charcuterie, filet mignon, roasted meats, and other hearty fare. It is a quintessential “steak house wine” — even if you are grilling that steak on your own patio — and delivers remarkable quality for the price.

Availability: Seven Rings Cabernet Sauvignon is a new offering by Alison Crowe and Barbara Ignatowski. They are also bottling a Chardonnay from Monterey County, which we look forward to tasting. Seven Rings can be found at Total Wine stores nationwide; visit them at www.totalwine.com for availability in your area.

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