High Quality and Low Production Sonoma Cab

Today’s Story: Little Boat

Little Boat is a very small winery in Sonoma, California, however there isn’t much information about them that I could find. They did come onto my radar last year though, when I happened to meet proprietor José Ignacio Cuenca at a Los Angeles restaurant and we struck up a friendly conversation and discussed his wines. I also had the pleasure of meeting his son Mateo, who created the artwork on the Little Boat labels. Little Boat is a group effort, and José works with winegrower Brad Alper, winemaker William Knuttel, Mike Miller, and the Treyzon family. They also receive help from sommeliers Harley Carbery, Phillip Dunn, Lucas Payá, and Robert Smith MS. Little Boat produces a range of wines including most notably a Russian River Valley Chardonnay, a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and a Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. There is also a rosé and very limited quantities of a reserve Pinot Noir. Placement of these wines is highly selective, and they are generally found in high-end hotels and restaurants or highly curated and boutique wine stores.

I very recently wrote about the 2018 Little Boat Pinot Noir, so please feel free to check out those tasting notes if you haven’t already!

Today’s Wine: 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% ABV

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is deep ruby in color. I let this open up for about an hour, though for being so young it was fairly friendly right out of the gates. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of blackberry, redcurrant, red plum, sweet tobacco, dried earth, dried green herbs, chocolate, vanilla, and cedar. There’s some heat there too from the alcohol. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity, and the palate displays notes of redcurrant, black cherry, black raspberry, blueberry, tobacco, coffee grounds, milk chocolate, vanilla, and baking spice. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high tannins, high alcohol, and a medium (+) finish.

Price: $40. This offers very solid value, though for me it fits into the camp of high-quality people pleaser. The fruit is slightly jammy, though there is some complexity here that’s intriguing. You can certainly notice the oak as well, so while not my preferred style I think many consumers would enjoy this.

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