Phil Steinschriber has yet to begin replanting Gravelly Meadow, which is the youngest of the original plantings at Diamond Creek (1972). Closest to the break in the hills that brings cool Pacific air across Diamond Mountain, this is also the coolest of the three sites. Aromatically, this 2005 has a lot in common with the wine from the north-facing Red Rock Terrace. The fruit grows increasingly wild, untamed and energized as it takes on air, red cherry and strawberry with the fatness of petit verdot (as in St-Julien, a tiny portion can go a long way). The fine tannins add a sagebrush flavor to the wine, seeming to add the scent of the California hills.
Calling this wine "light" is a bit of a reach, but it is nonetheless the least hefty and most mannerly of the current Diamond Creek bunch. Its beautifully focused, classic display of cassis, violets and dusty earth spice in the nose is followed hard on by deep and refined flavors of a similar stripe. Firmed and made ageworthy by its fine finishing tannins, it will need a little less time than its siblings to reach full stride.
The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow has a sweet, earthy, minerally character, delicate yet impressively intense blue and black fruits, medium body, sweet, sweet tannin, and a harmonious and impressively balanced mouthfeel. This is not blockbuster by any means, but rather an elegant yet authoritatively flavored wine to drink now and over the next 15 or more years. A fine vein of acidity keeps everything well-poised, precise and fresh. (RP) 93+
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