Sonoma County 2009 William Knuttel Cabernet Sauvignon


Sonoma County 2009 William Knuttel Cabernet Sauvignon

Today’s wine comes to us via The Wall Street Journal Wine Club. It is priced at $20.00 per bottle or $238.00 for the case through the club. I am surprised a bigger discount is not offered but this may be fodder for a future post….

William Knuttel is renowned for his work as winemaker for premium California wineries such as Chalk Hill, Dry Creek and Saintsbury. He was also President of the Cabernet Wine Society from 1999-2003. All this before branching out with his own namesake product line.

This particular Cabernet spent two years in french oak barrels prior to its release. It is unfiltered, a factor I tend to appreciate in my wines but could understand where others could feel differently.

Upon decanting I noted strong wood [cedar] on the nose along with tobacco. Fruit detected was slight; dark fruit possibly opening to red fruits as it immediately began to breathe.

At tasting I was pleasantly surprised by the strong red fruit taste [strawberry, red cherry]. The heavy wood on the nose took somewhat of a backseat to the fruit on what I would describe as a dry, tannic heavy wine with a lengthy acidic finish. The experience and my purple tongue reminded me of a Bordeaux before opening completely. The WSJ website suggests decanting for an hour prior to serving but as my notes below suggest; 2 hours would not be an exaggeration.

Additional notes:

@ 30 minutes – Nose softened but wood still overtly in existence, fruit opening but reservedly so.

@ 60-90 minutes – Notable softening on nose and palate; tasty.

@ 2 hours – Jammy.

I am so glad that I was able to continue recording my notes throughout the night. It was truly amazing to see this wine come to life and change in ways that sometimes just doesn’t happen with a wine although I also have to admit we do not usually sit down for a 2-3 hour wine experience at home. Huh, maybe we should 🙂 . This wine was delicious from start to finish but SMOOTH at over 2 hours. If I would not have lasted to this point it would have been my loss and I would have written off this wine as good but overly woody [barreled too long?]. Having made it though I must admit that I would buy and better yet experience this wine again. Note to self; Decant! Enjoy long suppers! Stop and smell the wine grapes! ¡SALUD!

Vendor notes: We’d suggest you decant an hour prior to serving to allow those complex flavors time to breathe.

Deep ruby. Aromas of black cherry, cedar and blackberries with hints of red licorice and classic cigar box. Fine-grained tannins, smooth finish — dominated by dried cherry, cassis and vanilla.

10 responses »

  1. Ernesto, two hours? Never in my life have I waited 2 hours to drink a wine. It never would have occurred to me. What other wines in your experience would benefit from long breathing times? Are there particular varieties that lend themselves to this treatment? If I know this in advance I would open a bottle as I start preparing dinner so that it would be ready to drink during dinner. Finally, you would never be able to experience this treatment in any restaurant that I have ever been in. Interesting!

    • Hola Roger. Check out the great reply from JVB in reference to your decanting question. I would agree with his Napa reference and add that I find Bordeaux wines to need the same aeration time to bring out true flavors. I should add that I decant all my wines and truly enjoy experiencing the evolution of the wine at; decanting, 30 min, 60 min, 90 min etc. Most wines open beautifully yet others are great out of the bottle, stay that way or fade quickly.
      Thank you,

  2. Roger, it’s not unheard entirely unheard of in a restaurant. I’d only do it with a venue I know well and have a relationship with, but if I want a specific vintage or a wine that requires air to mature, I’d ask a wine director or sommelier to uncork early for me. I’ve done this with a rare ’91 Romanee-Conti, getting a phone call when the wine was opened and decanted so it would be ready for my arrival. I’d also suggest decanting early with wines by winemaker Jason Moore of Modus Operandi. His Napa blends are stunning but they require aeration to be their fullest.

  3. Great post! I’m a novice who is trying to devote lots of time to wine tastings and I’m having a hard time coming up with good descriptors. Your tasting notes were brilliant and I’m going to try spacing my timing like you’ve done above. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Pingback: Cabernet Day August 30th 2012 – Celebrating everything Cabernet « WhineAndCheersForWine

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