Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon

Review by Eric Tansey, CSW                                                                                                                          The color of the Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon is a very dark inky purple with a very heavy stain. Powerful aromas of red and black fruits. Most prevalent are the fresh, ripe strawberry and blackberry notes. The nose also introduces something else that is quite unexpected for this style of wine: a barnyard-like aroma reminiscient of trampled soil and cowhide.

Totally unexpected, judging by the color I expected an oak bomb but there were very few hints of new oak on this wine. No vanilla or cooking spice either, just ripe, luscious fruit and really cool barnyard notes that should make wine nerds drool. On the palate the wine is lush, with a full bodied mouthfeel. Ripe strawberry and blackberry that you eat straight from a bush you found while hiking the trail to your favorite Blue Ridge waterfall. Very light evidence of oak with moderate tannins, high alcohol, and medium acidity, this wine is a pure joy and a great expression of innovative winemaking techniques and classic Columbia Valley fruit. The story, label, and juice are a show stopper at any event. Cheers !


Tansey’s Blind Rating – 91 Points

Wine Spectator – 92 Points

Cellar Tracker – Average of 89 Points 

Dryness Level

Wine Selection – Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon 

Producer – Chateau St. Michelle (side project under its own name and label)

Wine Maker – Juan Muñoz Oca

Vintage – 2014

Varietal – Cabernet Sauvignon

Region – Columbia Valley, Washington, USA 

Alcohol – 14.5%

Case Production – 30,000 

Food Pairing – lamb shak, ribs, London broil, burgers, BBQ 


By Eric Tansey, CSW, Somm

Winemaking has been going on for a very,very…very long time. And almost every style has been perfected. But every once in awhile something new is discovered. Someone thinks outside the box, or in this case, outside the barrel. Winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca of Chateau St. Michelle had just such an idea and had the gumption to try something new. Backed by Chateau St. Michelle, he set out to try a groundbreaking new way of making a red wine.

Traditionally, red wine grape juice is allowed to sit with its skins for a couple weeks as it ferments. This time is called the maceration period. The typical time allowed for this is ten days, give or take. Juan wanted to see what would happen if he left the wine on its skins for a little longer, like for 9 months longer! This was a bold move, since he would have to tie up the big fermentation tanks for nine whole months instead of two weeks. He allowed the wine to sit on its skins and month after month he checked the wine. Harvest was in October, by December the wine appeared undrinkable but by February and March the wine began to take its shape. Unexpectedly, the tannins began to soften and the fruit began to explode. By July 4th the wine was ready for its next phase. They blended the 9 month-aged, stainless steel barrel-fermented wine with wine that was aged for 14 months in old French Oak barrels. Old French oak leaves lighter oak characteristics than the oft-used New American Oak barrels.

So what does this mean for you?  This new style of winemaking leaves you with a wine that is 100% unique and not only is it unique… it’s down right delicious,  unmasked by the excessive use of excessive oak. A cool story, innovative winemaking from an established brand, great juice, topped off with some HOT urban art on the label by Brooklyn Street Artist Zimer, this wine is a great go-to and should entertain any guest. Cheers! Eric Tansey, CSW


Photo From Intrinsic web site

From the Winery, Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon

Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon is a truthful expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington’s Columbia Valley, yet its uniqueness stems from chances taken.

Most Cabernet Sauvignon stays on the skins for up to 1 month; however, Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon remained on the skins for nine months, resulting in an unexpected silkiness and smooth mouthfeel. As a nod to the urban aesthetic, 10% of the wine fermented in a concrete tank, lending the mineral notes in the wine. The end result is a rustic, yet sophisticated wine as captivating as the cities in which it will be savored.

TASTING NOTES, Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon

Tremendously complex, this Cabernet Sauvignon boasts leather and cherry aromas, subtle mineral notes, and a finish that goes on forever.