The Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Petite Sirah, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Merlot. All but the Petite Sirah are grapes approved to be included in the Red wine blends of Bordeaux. Petite Sirah is also a French grape, not Bordeaux, and never was widely planted in France but has found a home in California.
The bulk of the grapes come from 2 Simi estate vineyards, Los Amigos and Red Fan, along with a portion from other local vineyards of some renown. Simi winery has a long history, it was founded in the late 1800s and was one of the pioneers of Alexander Valley wine.
The Alexander Valley AVA runs north-south along the Russian River with Mendocino to the north and the Russian River AVA (a cooler region known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) to the south. The Russian River at one time in the very distant past ran east/west until a major earthquake caused the river to make a sharp turn heading north.
Simi has hand several owners of the years and is currently one of Constellation Brands stable of wines. Often when a large wine conglomerate purchases a wine brand, they only use the name. The vineyards and the winery are sold off or repurposed. But Simi remains much like it always was, the same facilities and the same outstanding vineyards.
This is a Cabernet Sauvignon that lists for about $25, and I found it for closer to $15. The usual difference between a $25 wine and say a $12 wine is style and production techniques and sometimes vineyards. It is not completely uncommon for a $12 and $25 wine to be sourced from the same vineyards, but that is another story.
The Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 was fermented with the grape skins for 21 days to get all the goodness the skins had to give. All the tannins, color, and chemical compounds are released into the juice. This cab was aged for 14 months in French and American oak barrels, mostly used barrels with 15% new oak barrels.
All the tannins and all the oak conditioning mean that the winemaker has to take steps to balance all the varying elements in the wine. That usually dictates more complex production and additional time for them to balance. With a typical $12 Red wine, the winemaker will take steps that allow the wine to come together faster which makes for a bright fruit-forward wine.
Those wines are very popular, but the more expensive wines have depth and finesse that the less expensive wines do not have the time to develop. The Simi Alexander Valley Cab is a classic example of Cabernet Sauvignon from this region of Sonoma County. The alcohol content is a balanced 13.5%.
Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is a dark raspberry jam red with black highlights. The nose smells expensive, I know that is sort of a weird thing to say, but with inexpensive Cabs, the first aroma is usually fruit, here it is herbs and spice with blackberry lingering in the background, along with a smokey, savory note, bitter dark chocolate, and mint.
This is a medium-bodied wine that really engages your palate and exhibits excellent balance. It tastes of extracted blackberry, black pepper, sharp spice, dark roast coffee (black, no sugar, no cream), and soft blueberry.
The mid-palate adds a soft dusty tannins, a little French vanilla, strawberry, and a slightly rough-edged spice. The tannins are in control and add to the flavor profile. The acidity allows the flavors to unfold and provides a solid backbone while never getting in the way.
- The Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 that displays the differences between a $12 Cab and a $25 Cab. All the extra features are on full display.
- This is a delicious wine. To me, the Simi gets CaliforniaCabernet Sauvignon right.