2005 Three Dog Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon SKU #1301294

Price: $29.99

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Tasting Notes

A couple of years back I started a conversation with a local vineyard manager that said he had some great back vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Obviously I was incredibly intrigued and asked him who the producer was. His response was Three Dog Vineyard. I had never heard of it or ever saw any of the wines. I couldn't find anything on-line either so I was both intrigued and cautious. When he finally stopped by with a couple of different vintages I was shocked. Here was top notch Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet that nobody knew about, with tons of varietal and regional character for a fantastic price point. Then we found out that they had about 15 vintages of this wine for us to choose from, needless to say we were all in. After some logistical starts and stops we brought in the 2002 Three Dog Vineyard Cabernet last year in the Fall and it was a massive hit. It's taken us a while to get the second vintage of this wine but we are really excited about the 2005 vintage and think it is well worth the wait. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

Staff Reviews

  • Adam Winkel
    By: Adam Winkel
    K&L Staff Member
    I'm down to one bottle in my case of 2002 Three Dog Cab, so I'm pretty stoked that we got this. Comparatively, the 2005 is a little bit more plush and fresh than the 2002 which was shaded more with dried fruit tones and sharper acidity. Still, "plush" is a relative term when you're talking about Santa Cruz Mountains, as this is still quite an elegant and savory wine with a lot of structure. I love the depth, purity, and classically proportioned profile here. In France there's a term called "buveurs d’etiquettes", which translates to "label drinkers". It refers to those who are only interested in the prestige printed on the outside of their bottle rather than what is inside of it. With a familiar label, the buveurs d’etiquettes would line up to pay a king's ransom for this bottle.
  • Anthony Gittings
    By: Anthony Gittings
    K&L Staff Member
    This is an incredible Cabernet for an incredible price. This wine is full of dark cherries and cranberries a hint of cocoa, and just the right amount of leather. Bright, fresh acid and a long elegant finish make this a spectacular value and sure to be a hit at your next dinner party.
  • Bryan Brick
    By: Bryan Brick
    K&L Staff Member
    After tasting a full vertical of Three Dog wines dating back to 1997 there were a few wines that really stood out and the 2005 was at the top of that list. It was one of the most powerful and youthful of the wines with deep set, inky aromas of cassis, olive, evergreen and even some dark chocolate tones. The thing that surprised me the most was just how much life was left in the wine, now at 12 years old this is just finally unraveling to show its full potential and that potential is through the roof. Packed with typical Santa Cruz Mountains savor and energy this is rich and polished enough for rib eyes or even lamb but it is also so drinkable that it could be a hell of a cocktail wine as well as it is still packed with tremendous wild berry, red currant and spiced plum fruit, the freshness of which belies its age. This is a must for all fans of Cabernet with age, York Creek devotees and anyone looking for a heck of a value.
  • Steve Bearden
    By: Steve Bearden
    K&L Staff Member
    Here is a delicious and well made Cabernet caught somewhere between youth and middle age that is drinking perfectly right now. This is gently earthy but with lots of dusty plum and baked cherry fruit along with a sprinkle of sage and anise on the leather tinged finish. There is good sweetness here and a gentle burnished quality to the plump, round middle. This is very easy to drink.
  • Muriel Sarik
    By: Muriel Sarik
    K&L Staff Member
    I was pleasantly surprised with this wine. We don't see 2005 California Cabs at this price very often especially from the Santa Cruz AVA. This is delicious. All the characteristic of a fine Cabernet. This wine is smooth, balanced and has dark fruit running throughout the palate. Dog lovers will appreciate the label. A must buy for cab lovers too!
  • Alex Schroeder
    By: Alex Schroeder
    K&L Staff Member
    This was by far the most exciting wine at our last domestic staff tasting. Wearing its age very well, it showcases mostly vibrant red fruit like savory raspberries, ripe strawberries and dark cherries with leathery undertones and just a hint of earthy spice. At this price and with several years of ageing potential left, I’m going to case up on this one.
  • Brian Allie
    By: Brian Allie
    K&L Staff Member
    At 12 years old, this incredible Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet has had the time to come of an age where it is really showing extremely well. This super balanced, wallet friendly Cabernet displays flavors of dark cherries and berries as well as woodsy notes and tobacco. It has a lovely, long lasting finish with fine tannins. This is going to go fast, so make sure to secure a few (or more) bottles now!
  • Ryan Woodhouse
    By: Ryan Woodhouse
    K&L Staff Member
    Ignore the slightly whimsical label...this is seriously good Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet. Cut from the same cloth as iconic wines such as Ridge Montebello and Mount Eden, this wine shows the same beautiful combinations of dusty red fruits, cedar, tobacco, warm earth; vibrant acidity and long, fine tannin. This winery direct deal is a DO NOT MISS opportunity for lovers of cooler climate Cab. The fact that it has had a decade plus of ageing in the bottle only multiplies the value on offer here. This is refined, elegant Cabernet for an unbeatable price.
    Top Value!
  • Gary Norton
    By: Gary Norton
    K&L Staff Member
    I don't often equate a sub thirty dollar bottle of wine with small production, single vineyard Cabernet from the Santa Cruz Mountains... it's largely non-existent in my world. After you get past the terrifyingly hokey label and endeavor into the wine itself it's captivating and vibrant, even with 12 years of age on it. Savory red fruits, tobacco leaf, baking spices and dried herbs are all over the place here. Come grab some, they're worth every penny.
  • Andrew Stevens
    By: Andrew Stevens
    K&L Staff Member
    I keep telling customers that finding well priced aged California Cabs is next to impossible and our buyer keeps turning me into a liar. Still I would rather continue to be proven wrong by him than the alternative. We debuted the 2002 vintage of this wine last year and it is exciting to see it back in an even more powerful vintage. Dark berry. sweet tobacco, currant and bramble all with balancing acid and silky tannins help you to know you are getting into some Californian Cab. Add to this the fact that this wine already has 12 years in bottle so is in a beautiful drinking window and you have a winner, oh yeah and it is $30.
  • Christina Stanley
    By: Christina Stanley
    K&L Staff Member
    The 2005 Three Dog Vineyard Cabernet is an incredible value from some of the oldest vines in the Portola Valley. The wine is drinking beautifully right now, with a plush soft tannin and an elegant balance of fruit and acid. Aromas of dried rose petal and cinnamon, with a delicately fruit driven palate. A fantastic vintage for California Cabernet, and the price, and time, is right.


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