Ultimate Beverage Challenge 92 points - A very complex nose of balsamic, ripe plum, oak smoke, and minty eucalyptus greets the taster of this delicious, full bodied wine. There is a great, refined structure that provides supple and dry tannins now and will give the wine a long life ahead. (Jun 2016)
Wine Advocate 87 points - The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley is aged in one-third new oak, of which three-fourths is American and one-fourth French. It offers spicy roasted herbs intermixed with damp earth, blackcurrants, plums and some new saddle leather. Dense and medium-bodied, with light tannin, it is best drunk over the next 4-6 years.
Frei Brothers Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon opens with aromas of earthy cigar box and ripe plum, framed by smoky undertones. On the palate, flavors of blackberry and tea leaf culminate in a complex finish with velvety tannins. 92 points from Wine Spectator - "Combines firm, dark fruit and chewy tannins with a measure of finesse and refinement. Ends with gripping, cedary tannins, bolstered by good length and depth. Drink now through 2024."
|Wine maker notes
|At the Frei Brothers Winery we craft our wines in a gentle, traditional style enhanced through the use of modern technology that makes fruit the focus and showcases the best that each varietal and appellation have to offer.
The grapes for our Cabernet Sauvignon were gently destemmed but not crushed, with 20% to 30% whole berries sent to the fermenter. We find that whole berry fermentation produces concentrated, fresh, and forward black fruit flavors in the finished wine. We used 70% upright and 30% horizontal rotary fermenters to gently mix the juice and skins and prevent tannic bitterness. Temperatures were closely monitored and kept between 85-88º during fermentation to yield a richer, rounder mouthfeel and body. The must was cold soaked for 2 days for maximum extraction of color and flavor from the grape skins.
After primary fermentation, the wine completed malolactic fermentation to soften the acid structure and to add complexity. The wine was then aged in 62% new barrels and 38% prior used barrels for an average of 16 months. The barrels were racked every four to six months early and topped every 6 weeks late in the aging cycle to clarify the wine naturally and to assist in the aging process. The wine was minimally filtered.
|Frei Brothers Reserve is a winemaking story more than a century in the making. In 1890, Swiss immigrant Andrew Frei purchased the core of what is now Frei Ranch in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. The superb stretch of land was already a vineyard, but Frei brought it to prominence when he built a winery that produced 20,000 cases of wine annually by 1895. In 1903, Frei turned the winery over to his sons, Walter and Louis, who adopted the name Frei Brothers.
After the repeal of Prohibition, the vineyards caught the eye of Julio Gallo, winemaker for the rapidly expanding E. & J. Gallo Winery. The Gallo family began buying grapes from Frei Ranch, eventually signing an agreement to purchase the estate’s annual wine grape crop.
When Andrew Frei’s descendents retired in the late 1970s, the Gallo family purchased Frei Ranch, further developing the vineyard and the winery. Today, Frei Brothers Reserve carries on the rich legacy of both our home vineyard and Sonoma’s celebrated appellations.