Chateau St. Jean, a staple winery in Sonoma, California, was the valley’s first to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award by acclaimed Wine Spectator magazine in 1999 for its Cinq Cépages 1996 Cabernet Sauvgnon. Only 3 years later, it’s 1999 vintage would be named the #2 wine of the year in 2002 establishing a consistency in winemaking known only by a select few in Sonoma.
Cinq Cépages – “five varieties” of grapes are aged separately for 2 years in French oak, then blended to create this rich, Bourdeaux-style wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot all come together to blend an iconic wine with tremendous depth, concentration of bold fruit, and elegant structure from a cool, moderate Sonoma climate. The 1999 vintage may be its best yet. As one of Wine Spectator’s “Highly Recommended” wines, this is not just another California cabernet. This has aged beautifully and gives you everything on the nose from wet earth to herbal spices. The color glows with deep red clay. As for its flavor, it offers rich dark cherries, chocolate, with a hint of spice and perfect balance, displaying more depth than you can even imagine. The age-worthy tannins have completely softened by now into a Romantic concerto. One of the best Cabernets I have tasted from a pre-2000 California vintage. This is a must-drink-now. You will remember this wine. –JT
1999 CHATEAU ST. JEAN Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County
Related scores: WS-95 (#2 on 2002 Top 100), RP-90
Market Price: $70
Cheese: Aged Camembert
Dessert: Caramel Dark Chocolate Truffles with Fleur de Sel
Music: Mozart, Requiem in D Minor