Based largely on Merlot, yet with 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% each of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Mountain Cuvée has a juicy, lively style as well as peppery black fruits, leafy herbs, and leaf pencil aromas and flavors. It's another solid value and has a juicy, lively style, good balance, and a clean finish. It also shows the more focused, Old World style that's common in Bordeaux blends from Sonoma.
Winemaker Anne Dempsey has been doing much lately to raise the profile of this popular and historic Sonoma Valley producer's wines. She calls the claret-style Mountain Cuvée a "stepping stone" to the winery's bigger Cabernets, and even Merlots! From the winery: "Mountain Cuvée honors the style and balance of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Sonoma County and pays homage to Bordeaux blends from France. We source from quality vineyards up against the Maycamas Mountain range to create balance in the wine, fruit, tannin and acid, choosing plots that exhibit the style we seek. For Merlot, we want grapes that ripen well and have an expressive personality and consistency. Then we find Cabernet Sauvignon, which provides a darkness to the wine – we source some of the fruit from Rhinefarm. Primarily, we use only two growers within 2 miles of our estate to create the cuvée, or blend, controlling how the vineyard is farmed. This method allows us to get to know the vineyard and find the best way to approach it. During the winemaking process, we blend vineyard blocks together, evaluate and then create an oak program to place the finishing touches on the wine. We call this managing the wine from dirt to bottle."
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