The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is 94.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.4% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Merlot and 0.2 Cabernet Franc sourced from Kendall Jackson estate vineyards (about 2/3’s from Alexander Valley and the rest from Knights Mountain) in Sonoma County, California. The grapes selected are in the top 7% of all grapes grown on KJ’s estate vineyards. The Grand Reserve Cab is aged in oak barrels for 17 months, 82% French oak and the rest American oak, 29% of the French oak barrels are new, with the rest being used barrels. This is a hand-picked and hand crafted wine, made from grapes grown in premium Sonoma coastal vineyards and lists for $28 (average price on the net is $24). The alcohol contents is 13.5%.
The color is deep, almost opaque, black cherry red, with an almost clear halo. The nose is bright fresh blackberry, coffee, dark chocolate, new-mown hay, toasty vanilla, new leather jacket and plum. This is a strong, balanced, lengthy Cabernet Sauvignon, fruit driven upfront, with interesting barrel flavors on the mid-palate. It tastes of blackberry, sweet blueberry, French vanilla and tart cranberry. The mid-palate adds a slight pull from the tannins, cigar tobacco, Nestle’s Quik powder and pomegranate. This is a very balanced Cab, every component has its place, the acidity is well-integrated into the body of the wine. The finish is full and lengthy.
The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a very fine example of a big-time California Cab. Rich, sleek, elegant and refined, with more than enough power to pair perfectly with an aged prime steak. The Grand Reserve Cab Sauv is an in-between California Cabernet, it is priced far less than the single vineyard Cabs from Sonoma and the estate Cabs from Napa, but the differences between the two are not that great and often simply a matter of taste, not quality. If you want a quality, classic, estate grown, California, Cabernet Sauvignon and you don’t want to pay a small fortune, the Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet is a very solid choice.