Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

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COST: $37-$39

WHAT: The Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon is a powerhouse of a Cabernet, starting with the deep red, almost black, color. When you see it and smell it, you instantly know it is a Cab.

Aromas of blackberries, cherry, chocolate and vanilla lead to bold but smooth flavors of blackberry and oaky tannins.

Sequoia Grove is not as famous as some of its neighbors but the wine takes a back seat to no one. The property sits on the Rutherford Bench, a stretch of the Napa Valley known for outstanding Cabs. So the winery has the soil and climate to make world- class wine.

Sequoia Grove just chooses to do so in a different style than the more famous wineries nearby. While many of the top Napa Cabs deliver the in-your-face punch of tannins and alcohol, Sequoia Grove aims for the subtler, smoother style.

Aging for 20 months in oak gives the wine plenty of tannins, but they don’t bite. Instead, you get this complex, silky mouthfeel that goes well with food. You also get a wine that drinks superbly now, but tastes like it will age for many years.

WINERY: The winery dates back to 1978, when Jim Allen bought 22 acres in Rutherford that included an old barn. The barn became the winery and today is the tasting room. Allen planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and other Bordeaux varietals.

When the first wines were produced in 1980 they were an immediate hit. They became known for their complexity and Old World style. They lost some luster in the 1990s and wine drinkers seemed to forget about them. But Michael Trujillo, Sequoia Grove’s director of winemaking and president, has brought back the quality. He has been with the company since 1982 and has seen the ups and downs.

Patricia Colaguri, Sue Mueller and Brenda Helies, three daughters of the late Kobrand founder Rudolph C. Kopf, own the winery now and they have been emphasizing quality. They are the principals of the Kobrand Corporation, the marketing and distribution partner of Sequoia Grove. Kobrand also represents Benziger, Cakebread and Domaine Carneros.

Sequoia Grove wines are made with 100 percent Napa Valley fruit from the original estate vineyard and the newly acquired Tonella Estate Vineyard in Rutherford, as well as from premier Napa Valley Growers throughout Napa County.

The winery is named after one of the last remaining groves of Redwoods in Napa Valley.

GOES WITH: My wife, Teri, and I put this wine to the test by having it with spicy homemade chili. The wine was powerful enough to stand up to the heat of the chili, and it had wonderful flavors to blend with the food.

You could also serve this wine with roast pork, steak on the grill, wild game and hearty cheeses. Open or decant the wine at least 30 minutes before serving.

WINE EVENTS

THURSDAY, MAY 2

Wine and tapas tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $19.99; (706) 722-4805

FRIDAY, MAY 3

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites and three reds and several cheeses, $5 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., Evans Towne Market, 4460 Washington Road, Evans; several wines, cheese and crackers and live music most Fridays; $5; (706) 303-8591

SUNDAY, MAY 4

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

MONDAY, MAY 6

Wine tasting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Ninth Street Wine Market, 12 Ninth St.; $10


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