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High Valley is an oval volcanic bowl, like a giant college football stadium, a mile or so above Clear Lake. It’s fun to visit, not just for the unu... Read more
The nose of the 2005 Shannon Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits nicely integrated aromas of ripe plum pomegranate, blueberry, tamarind, and a touch ... Read more
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High Valley is an oval volcanic bowl, like a giant college football stadium, a mile or so above Clear Lake. It’s fun to visit, not just for the unusual visual experience but also for how much geology you can learn in a hurry. There are two estate wineries in High Valley, and one of them is Shannon Ridge. Clay Shannon and his wife, Margarita, started releasing wines from their vineyard in 2004. Things are steadily improving, and the flavor imprint of the land in the wine is starting to emerge. This Cabernet, for example, was in a North Coast (California) flight so I knew it was American. But it tasted a whole lot more French to my palate. The aroma set is immediately distinctive: pomegranate and green bell pepper. This may sound weird, but both those flavors are “intermediate” in intensity and they meld surprisingly well (like the red plums and green bell peppers in Medoc). The aromas are not a fluke, either, because you get them as flavors along with some light toast and light milk chocolate. The winery says it’s 15.1% alcohol, but they also say the wine was picked at 23.1° brix, so I doubt both numbers. Just try the wine and taste High Valley: one of the more unusual winegrowing spots in California.
The nose of the 2005 Shannon Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits nicely integrated aromas of ripe plum pomegranate, blueberry, tamarind, and a touch of toasted French oak. The flavors follow with undertones of blackberry, clove, allspice and brambly characteristics. This wine has a medium-full body, good structure an even palate with a pleasing finish.
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