Reserve Wines - Cabernet Dominant
Bordeaux is divided by a river into the Left Bank and the Right Bank. For centuries the Left Bank with its Cabernet Sauvignon predominance has been is recognized as the world’s highest quality wine region. The most desirable Bordeaux wines even to this day were listed in the “1855 Classification” designated for Napoleon III at the Paris World Exhibition of 1855.
From that listing only five Château today hold the ranking of First Growth (Premier Cru). Those five wines are known to be extraordinary in quality and occupy the finest terroir and soil in Bordeaux.
Considered the best wines in Bordeaux and therefore ranked as among the best wines in the world, these five First Growth wines certainly deserve our respect. Unfortunately, considering their limited production and high prices only a select few of us will ever enjoy one of these “greatest Bordeaux wines."
Inspired by these wines we researched and developed a collection of our own wines from the very best of our Napa and Sonoma fruit and blended them in accordance with the time honored methods used in each of these five famous Chateaux.
These Château wines were not conceived to be simple copies of their French counterparts. They began as an intellectual pursuit into what makes these French wines so good, so age-worthy and so valuable. Naturally the first conclusion is their terroir, everything that influences the grape in its growth and development; or was it winemaking technique; the process; the barrels; perhaps the blends; and then élevage, the ageing process, why do they need to age so long in order to bring out their nuances of flavor?
On a recent trip to France we visited with several Bordeaux Château owners and winemakers to discuss these Premier Cru wines. We found that their terroir has similarities with some specific vineyards in Northern California; they employ similar winemaking techniques and the barrels are identical with those we use right here in the USA, same forest, same trees, same cooper, same toasting levels.
It occurred to us that if you had a supply of grapes of the same varieties and of similar characteristics from similar terroir, made with the same painstaking quality techniques, aged in the same barrels and formulated with similar blend models, you might just be able to produce a reasonable facsimile of some of history's greatest First Growth wines.
With fifteen years of experience making exceptional Napa and Sonoma Bordeaux-style wines we reviewed the previous ten years of blending formula from each of the five great French First Growth wines and developed our own blending models.
We took some of the finest fruit from our award winning Napa and Northern Sonoma vineyards to produce this Premier Collection each inspired as a counterpart to one of the greatest French wines. The happy result of that experiment is the development of our own style, favoring bright fruit, complexity and vineyard character, with a hint of the covert opulence you would expect from such great wines.
NOTE: Williamson Wines is not affiliated with any of the French First Growth Châteaux. These wines are solely the work of Williamson Wines and represent our homage to the greatest wines of France. As such they are separate and distinct wines and should not be construed to represent any other winery or their wines.