Y9 Review - Wine Reviews by Wine Critic John Turi
Grgich Hills Wine

Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009

Wine Rating: 92

A classic California, based in Rutherford which is in the heart of the Napa Valley. Probably one of the best priced for a California wine: based on the history of the winemaker, their decades in business, along with their award-winning quality for nearly 40 years.

Grgich Hills Cellar, now properly renamed Grgich Hills Estate, was founded on July 4th, 1977. The winery changed its name in 2006 when it first began producing only “estate grown” wines which are made from the grapes which are exclusively grown in their winery-owned vineyards. Owner and winemaker Mike Grgich gained international recognition at the historic Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 when the Chardonnay he produced at Chateau Montelena won first prize among the white wines. (Please see my review of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay I did a few months ago. I write about the Paris Tasting in more detail).

This review is on their Cabernet Sauvignon. A great fall wine that opens with intense cherry and spice. Their other releases are Fume Blanc (AKA Sauvignon Blanc), Chardonnay, Violetta, Grgić Vina (from their sister winery in Croatia opened by Mike Grgich in 1996), Zinfandel, Merlot, and a Petite Sirah. Also for white wine lovers, the Grgich Hills Chardonnay is an excellent value and has elements that you just don’t find in many Napa whites.

Usually, their Cabernet does include Merlot. Small amounts of Merlot can be found in 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. What I enjoyed about the 2009 is that there is no Merlot in sight. Not so much in Bordeaux, France. In fact, Merlot is grown primarily as a filler wine. In the traditional Bordeaux style, Merlot’s role is to add body and softness as it brings the tannin levels down. Grgich, however, blends in 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. What you get is a well-balanced wine with such power that you can taste the history of the vineyard. There is passion in the grapes they produce and after the first sip, you are dazed with it.

Grgich farms all of their vineyards naturally, without artificial pesticides or herbicides and they are certified organic and Biodynamic. I’m becoming a big supporter of organic vineyards and a dear friend of mine has made it her mission to bring ‘organics’ to the forefront. In a future review, I’ll tell you more about her and the movement she’s creating. But regarding the Grgich Hills Cab, you really can taste purity in the grape. People are learning that Biodynamic wines are judging better than conventionally grown wines. I need to do more research (more research = more drinking!) and I will get back to you on the matter very soon.

Grgich Hills Estate
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009

Winery: Grgich Hills Estate
Vintage: 2009
Region: Napa Valley
Location: Rutherford
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Website: Grgich.com

Appearance (Color): Deep ornate purple
Aroma (Complexity): Coffee, Spice, Cherry, Plum, Vanilla
Body (Texture and Weight): Full Bodied, Extremely Balanced
Taste (Balance of Flavor): Cherry, Black Currant, Clove, Tobacco
Finish (What lingers): Cinnamon, Cherry, Oak
Price: $45

Food Pairing: Steak, Italian Food, Dark Chocolate, Heavy Cheeses
Serving Temperature: 64°
Drink: Now through 2020

John Turi