Lumière 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery/Vineyard: Lumière Winery
Product/Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2012
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Andrew Kleiner

Rating: 92

How They Describe It

Lumière Means Light in French.

Planted in 1980, the estate vineyard spends each year collecting light to produce some of the finest Bordeaux style wine grapes available in our world-class Temecula Valley.

Light is the source of life and happiness. We use our family-run winery to preserve the light so that we may share it with you. We toast to life and encourage you to “share the light.”

How I Describe It

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon looks to be minimally filtered and maximally concentrated, creating a medium-keep ruby-garnet.

Violet, black pepper, and fennel hit right off the bat. Cranberry and red cherry blend with tar and fig — the latter two a sign of the wine’s fruit development. Nutmeg, coconut, smoke, and charred wood hint at time spent in oak. Wet leaves, truffle, and cigar tobacco tell the story of years spent aging in the bottle. Meanwhile, green olive and asparagus shout that this wine is undoubtedly a Cabernet.

The palate on Lumière’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon starts with raisin, fig and stewed cherries, emblematic of the wine’s age. Next, fresher cranberry and plum, joins alongside green olive and yeasty brioche. Unmistakable smoke, coconut, and nutmeg come from at least two years in oak barrels. Rounding out the wine’s flavors are wet leaves, tobacco, and black pepper.

Like most Cab Sauvs, this is a dry wine. At 13.4% ABV, alcohol content is medium — a tad lower, even, than the other Cabernets we’ve reviewed. Not surprisingly, tannins are on the high end, though clearly transitioning from astringent to velvety. There is a pleasant medium-plus acidity, hinting at less MLF than garden-variety Napa Cabs. The wine has medium-plus body, medium-plus intensity, and a medium-plus finish.

Why is This Wine Special?

Cabernet Sauvignon is was bred for the cold, cloudy, wet Bordeaux appellation in France. Even there, the best grapes grow on specific portions of specific hillsides. And even then, French winemakers rarely bottle 100% Cabernet.

Winemakers from cool, cloudy, somewhat dryer Napa turned the wine world on its head in the 1970’s, when they proved they could make world class Cabs outside of Bordeaux, and without blending.

Lumière owner/winemaker Andrew Kleiner is taking the phenomenon one step further by proving he can make world class Cabernet in warm, sunny, drought-prone Temecula — the antithesis of Bordeaux. In fact, Lumière has been growing Bordeaux varietals exclusively since they began producing in the 1980’s. The Cabernet Sauvignon Kleiner uses in his wines comes from a clone called 337, a popular version of the grape used in highly rated California and French wines. Additionally, Kleiner purposely thins his grape canopy. While it yields fewer grape clusters, the extra space allows for better air circulation in the vines, and for more nutrients dedicated to each berry cluster.

Moreover, Lumière differentiates themselves from the rest of Temecula by aging their wines significantly longer than most. Case in point, of their reds, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is the youngest wine currently being sold. It was placed on their tasting menu less than a year earlier. Their oldest “Premium” wine is from 2008: a Right Bank Bordeaux-style blend called Le Cirque, heavy with Merlot (a possible future review!). And among Lumière’s “Reserve” wines, the Cabernet and Le Cirque’s older siblings are the most senior, both sporting 2006 vintages.

If you are curious what aged wines taste like without holding on to a bottle for nearly a decade, Lumière is the place to find out.

When & How I Would Drink It

Despite aging for 8 years already, the Lumière 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon has exceptional aging potential. At it’s very reasonable price point, I suggest buying two bottles: one for now and one to store for another 4 to 10 years.

When you are ready to pop the cork, the 2012 Cab pairs well with what you’d normally expect for a Cabernet: grilled steaks and burgers, braised short ribs, roasted lamb, and heavy cheeses. Rich and salty foods will help tone down the tannins and bring out the fruity elements.

How to Get It

Order Online: or call (951) 972-0585

Bottle Price: $36 (discounts for wine club members)

Cases Produced: ~200


Have you tried the Lumière 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.

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