Friday, January 27, 2012

2005 Laurel Glen Counterpoint

I was assaulted by a corked bottle of 2005 Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Mountain a few nights ago. Thankfully, tonight's bottle was taint-free and firing on all cylinders. Deep maroon color is just the first indication of this wine's old school roots. Layers of cedar, dried currant, licorice and a pleasant hint of bell pepper tantalize the nose while the palate displays ferocious tannin, licorice, dried fruit and a fine minerality. I know winemaker Patrick Campbell assembled the Counterpoint wines from lots that he felt were more fruit-forward and not quite up to the tannic structure of the Laurel Glen designation. If this wine is the softer, more fruit-forward of his 2005 selections, the 2005 Laurel Glen Cabernet must be a truly frightening experience! I have no doubt this wine could gracefully age for another decade or so. A great pick up at $21 and a nice accompaniment to leftover tri-tip with chimichurri sauce.

I'm no expert on Laurel Glen, but I have had a couple of Laurel Glen and Counterpoint Cabernets over the years; most from the early-mid 90s. I have to say that I was kind of saddened to read that Campbell has recently sold his winery and it is undergoing a transition to an organic/biodynamic project under the direction of Phil Coturri. I've had a couple of his Zinfandels and I've found each of them to be muddy, unbalanced and reeking of stewed fruit. I really really hope that isn't the fate of this once-great label. I think I'll hedge my bet by picking up a few more of these '05 Counterpoints.

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