These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.
2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir
Cairdean – Scottish Gaelic for friends
This was Cairdean Estate’s second venture into the #winechat experience. My post on their first session is available by ckicking here.
This #winechat was like Cairdean’s first, well received effort. For this week’s version, I was allowed to select two wines from a list of 5 I’d like to sample during the chat. The previous time, I opted for wines outside of the usual Napa Valley wines and selected a Malbec and a Merlot. This time I went a bit more main stream and selected a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir.
For the record, here were the wines I had to choose from:
2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Carneros Pinot Noir
2011 Oak Knoll Merlot
2011 Napa Valley Rosé
The Winery – Their Story
Cairdean Estate is the vision of husband and wife Edwin and Stacia Williams.
While working in the software industry on the East Coast outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Stacia developed a strong appreciation and passion for wine. She made her first vintage in harvest of 2000, shipping in winegrapes from California through a local beer and wine hobby shop. She met Edwin, an aerospace engineer, shortly after her first vintage. Edwin being from Fresno, California was immensely interested in her winemaking project and educated her about the world-renowned Enology and Viticulture program at Fresno State. After years of planning, Edwin and Stacia moved to Fresno with their two children so that Stacia could go back to school and earn a degree in Enology & Viticulture from Fresno State.
During Stacia’s time at Fresno State, she and Edwin planned their future together and knew that they wanted to work together and build a family business managing vineyards and making wine. They had travelled the world together with their children in search of where they would land, but their hearts always belonged to Napa Valley – the first wine country they ever visited as a couple back in the year 2001.
After much searching for their home in Napa Valley, it was their elder son Kyle that led them to the quaint town of St. Helena. He was entering high school and very much wanted to attend the public high school there. In their searches for land that would allow a quintessential wine country lifestyle, they settled on a beautiful 50 acre parcel right on highway 29 in Saint Helena just north of downtown.
After relocating from Fresno to St. Helena in 2010, Edwin and Stacia embraced their vision and created Cairdean Vineyards. Cairdean is Scottish Gaelic for friends, which reflects their belief that wine is meant to be shared by those held close to your heart. The Cairdean symbol is a representation of that belief with the four hearts always present and brought together in the center by friendship.
Much more information is available on their website by clicking here.
#winechat is a weekly, Twitter based discussion about something dealing with the world of wine. Generally, each week’s chat session deals with a specific theme and is lead by an “expert” in that area. This is generally a nice way to learn about a region, winery, type of wine, etc.
What is #WineChat? Click here to learn more.
How do you join #winechat? Using a tool such as Hootsuite, log into your twitter account & follow the #winechat stream. Be sure to include #winechat at the end of each tweet so everyone in the stream can see you!
Grab a glass and join in!
#winechat is hosted by Protocol Wine Studio. For more information on them, click here.
There has been a change at the help of #winechat. Since this chat was organized by Protocol Wine Studio, they are still getting the thanks. Future #winechat sessions will be hosted by Just the Bottle.
My line up for this event included these two wines I mentioned earlier:
2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $68.00
This is a true Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The fruit came from four very different vineyards and regions in the Napa Valley. Grapes from Calistoga, Rutherford, Oak Knoll and Coombsville were used in the final blend. This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Syrah and 2% Malbec.
After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged in French oak barrels, with 50% being new. The total production was 948 cases.
This wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep ruby color. The intoxicating nose has cassis, eucalyptus, warm baking spices, cedar, dried herbs, dusty minerals, licorice, tobacco and violets. This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity. On the palate tart cassis and dried herbs hit first with minerals and cedar not far behind. The finish has very good length with violets and spice entering the picture. (93 pts)
2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir – SRP $52.00
This 100% Pinot Noir comes from vineyards in the coolest section of the Napa Valley, Carneros. Two clones of the Pinot Noir grape was utilized, Martini and 115. The grapes were harvested at the same time and were whole berry fermented together in an open top stainless steel fermentation tank. There was a combination of daily pumpovers and punchdowns. The wine was pressed just prior to dryness and barrel aged sur-lie for seven months. The wine was then racked and barrel aged for an additional 4 months. All French oak barrels were used with 50% being new. There were 408 cases produced.
The wine has 15.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a bright ruby red color. The inviting nose has cherries, smoke, minerals, cranberries, peat moss, dried violets and scorched earth. This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity. Tart, mineral laden fruit jumps out first on the palate with charred wood and cranberries coming in later. The finish has good length with a floral note and dry earth entering the picture. This is tasty now but could use some time in the cellar. (94 pts)
This makes four wines I have very much enjoyed from Cairdean Estate. I can see a very bright future for this young winery. If your travels take you to the Napa Valley, I heartily recommend a visit to Cairdean Estate. After checking out their menu, I would recommend a stop later in the day combined with a meal at their restaurant, The Farmer & The Fox. The winery tasting room is open until 8:00, so a post tasting meal would work perfectly.
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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines. I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar. I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com. Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear. There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.
Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase. I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive. I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount. Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges. None of the prices include the sales tax.
All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.