*Three stars* From the first, this deep, densely filled youngster conveys serious Cabernet intent, and its complex combination of optimally ripened currants, loamy spice and neatly balanced oak is the stuff of high varietal achievement. It is supple at entry and tightens a bit as it goes with nominal tannins lending the right bit of grip to its lingering finish. Although a bit tough, the wine shows a fine sense of polish all the same, and it has all the hallmarks of an ageworthy effort that will develop famously for another ten years and more.
Gravelly Meadow unfolds into delicious, supple richness in 2004, its floral cherry and rose scents underscored by firm minerality. This grows on a gravel wash left behind by floods along Diamond Creek, where Phil Steinschriber tends the Cabernet vines to tame the potent tannins so they feel irresistible rather than austere. One taster compared the feel of it to a mink coat. Steinschriber says the '04 vintage was earlier than usual, and 'fast and furious,' with all the vineyards ripening at the same time (September 27 through mid-October). Gravelly Meadow is a beauty to drink now and over the next 20 years.
The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow takes its name from the brown, stony, gravelly soils of this 5-acre vineyard. It possesses that crushed rock, smoky barbecue note that resembles a top-class Pessac-Leognan from Bordeaux. A dark ruby/purple color is followed by wonderfully sweet, concentrated red and black fruits, a certain smoky earthiness, sweet tannin and a textured, full-bodied mouthfeel. This potentially profound red wine can be drunk over the next 20 years. From an aromatic complexity perspective, it may eclipse the Red Rock Terrace. Lastly, the biggest of these single vineyards is the 8-acre site known as Volcanic Hill, whose white tufa volcanic soils are in total contrast to the gravelly soils and red, iron-rich, clay soils of its two siblings. 95+ (RP)
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