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Up from the cellar: Frog’s Leap Cabernet

Posted on: June 26th, 2012 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Nearly every wine lover has at least sampled some Napa Valley Frog’s Leap Cab.  In the beginning, this wine was only sold to restaurants.  But about 9 or so years ago, all that changed.  Now, due to increased production or some other factor, it can be purchased in nearly every retail outlet.

Sure they still have their top of the line “Rutherford” in limited distribution.  However, Froggy’s basic Cabernet Sauvignon, is still a great wine.  Hey, as they say at the winery, if Stags Leap can have mucho wines in their lineup, Frog’s Leap can do it too.  That’s just what Frog’s Leap did, and now there are more to pick from in a good price range, with more competition for their neighbors up the road.

In Napa, the 2007 vintage was affected by a combination of cool dry weather with some nice hot days at the end of the summer making perfect conditions for the fruit to ripen slowly.  Due to low rainfall, the yields were on the low side resulting in concentrated flavors.  Now those of us who have been stashing away their 2007 Napa Cabs for 4 years are just starting to figure out what “that long summer” did to the wine’s flavors.

The 2007 Frog’s Leap is a perfect example of Napa red wines from that vintage.  They are not too big, with deep fruit balanced with a soft tannic structure that many describe as simply “wonderful to drink”, and also regretting that they didn’t rack more.

It also seems that Frog’s Leap’s overall style is more tilted toward the Stag’s Leap District style with higher acidity and earthiness, more like a French Bordeaux.  Samplings of their relatively restrained 2008 vintage point to this as well.

However, like many Napa ’07 wines, there is very little clue in the bouquet to indicate that such a structured body lies underneath.  With dark plum, a hint of licorice plus cocoa, and a background of vanilla, it is delightful.  The entire package pairs perfectly with a rib roast or broiled lamb.

Currently, you can find an ‘08 or ’09 Frog’s Leap Cab at nearly every Phoenix area Total Wine for $36 and even snap up the special Rutherford for $64.  If you’re game, go through the shelves a little to look for those ‘07 bottles; they’re often mixed in with other vintages.  FYI- Fry’s is renowned for having multiple years of the same wine on the shelf.  Delve in and score a “Shopping Bag Vertical”.

With all its structure, the Frog’s Leap 2007 red wines could easily age for another 4-6 years and still be a mouthful, although a mellower one.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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