Mount Eden's 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon offers a striking interplay of ripe, flamboyant fruit and supporting mountain structure. Fresh, vibrant and energetic to the core, this stunning, beautifully delineated Cabernet Sauvignon might need another decade to show the full breadth of its pedigree, but it's all there. Pinot Noir at Chardonnay get most of the attention and Mount Eden, yet the Cabernet can be every bit as intriguing, just as it is here. The blend includes 5% Merlot, 1% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot....Mount Eden and its sister estate Domaine Eden remain surprisingly under the radar. Part of that is undoubtly a result of the decision to sell most of the production through distribution rather than direct to the consumer, where there is a greater opportunity to build a stronger bond and brand awareness with the end customer. What that means in practical terms is that these wines sell for far less than wines of similar quality from other parts of the US and around the world. The Mount Eden wines remain reference points for the Santa Cruz Mountains, while the Domaine Eden range is designed to deliver that pedigree at more accessible prices. (AG)
Jeffrey Patterson’s Cabernet vines—most planted in 1980 and 1981 on Mount Eden’s spare shale-dominated soil—ripened incredibly late in the cool 2011 season. Most of the grapes were picked in November. In terms of sugar, it was a lean year, yet the wine feels completely ripe and healthy. (Patterson points out that the autumn rains that plagued many vineyards in the North Coast with mildew and botrytis issues were much lighter in the Santa Cruz Mountains.) This train comes in slowly, the flavors distant for a while, yet building inexorably toward cabernet grandeur. As it takes on oxygen its aromas of mint and cocoa break through into a bright red, curranty streak of energy. It has the umami-laden pungency of pure, varietal cabernet from the Santa Cruz Mountains, the tannins firm yet pliable, harmonizing with the wine’s floral and herb aromas, mouthwatering acidity and the cedar bark character of its oak. It’s a vinous Cabernet to age for at least ten years.
A blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is deeper, richer and more structured than the Domaine bottling. Its inky purple color is followed by a Pauillac-like nose of lead pencil shavings, blackcurrants, singed cedar and tobacco leaf. This gives way to a medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon that has nicely integrated acidity, solid mid-palate depth and firm tannin, all of which should allow it to age gracefully for 15 years or more. Located on the warmer, eastern/northern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Eden Vineyards is one of the most historic estates in California. In addition, their wines have one of the longest track records in the region for aging beautifully. Originally planted in 1945, the estate covers roughly 40 acres today and Jeffrey Patterson makes the wines. Under their Mount Eden label, they release three Chardonnays, a single Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Domaine Eden label is focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from a vineyard lying just to the south of the estate, and also includes Bordeaux varieties from throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. (JD)
Aromas of smoke and charcoal are evident and carry over to the palate, where they become dry and leathery amid a mix of dark berry, currant and gravelly earth. Shows some promise on the finish, where the flavors linger. (JL, Web-2015)
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