Musque clone of Sauvignon Blanc, the vineyard is now over 20 years old. This wine’s blend of aromatics, freshness and fruitiness continues to get praise from our customers and from critics – a recent vintage was Wine Enthusiast’s No. 24 wine in the world. The fruit from the Stewart Vineyard in Carneros captures the best elements from a range of great Sauvignon Blanc regions, and the wine’s exotic nose leads to a rich blend of citrus and tropical fruit, all balanced by just enough of a vibrant zing.
All the variables that influence grape quality—clone, soil, temperature, weather, and cultural practices have coalesced at Stewart Vineyard to make it a unique and special property. When I was offered the first tiny crop to Chardonnay in 2009, I could not say no. Chardonnay is an elusive and captivating variety when it realizes its potential. The best offer a toast apple, mineral, hazelnut, and slight hint of orange peel in a rich yet lively structure. This is not your typical Chardonnay, more akin to its French counterparts in Burgundy.
Although I have produced a Zinfandel from Brandlin Vineyard since 1991, 2016 vintage was my first Cabernet Sauvignon from Brandlin. Typically dark and concentrated, the Cabernet from Brandlin offers classic notes of bay, rose petal, wild blueberry and allspice, the signature of this site. Our winemaking style reigns in the brawn of brooding mountain fruit in our quest for a wine with true elegance and layers of complexity.
Guess what? Merlot is on the rebound! Suddenly it’s becoming hip again to like a wine that has been out of fashion in recent years. When it realizes its potential, Merlot offers one of the most pleasurable of all red wine experiences, and so many seem to forget that some of the most highly regarded and sought after wines in the world come from Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, the land of Merlot.
The Brandlin Vineyard on Mount Veeder is a magnificent, magical setting where you can truly feel the energy and soul that ultimately finds its way into the wine. This perpetual award winner carries aromas and flavors with the unique character of the vineyard, which has vines that were planted in the 1920s. You’ll find everything from flavors of gentle dark fruits to bright berries to crushed stone, lavender, white pepper, clove, ginger, anise, bay and a touch of earthiness. And for all those flavors racing through the wine, it’s still balanced, beautiful and refreshing.
When Mourvèdre hits the target, it is absolutely captivating. With aromas and flavors unlike any other variety, it charms and seduces you. The grape grows extensively in France and Spain, but much less so in the US. Mourvèdre is definitely at home, at 3000 feet at Fore Family Vineyard on Cobb Mountain. Its floral, elusive, and perfumed aromas of pink peppercorn, wild raspberry, anise, and cardamom are distinctive and intense. Similar flavors explode on the palate, held in check by a lively structure that brings you to a finish that goes on and on. This unique wine always generates excitement!
Fourteen years ago, well before many were seriously considering the potential of Lake County, one of my best growers, Jim Fore, took a gamble and purchased property on the top of Cobb Mountain. The vineyard site is located a few miles east of Sonoma County and a dozen miles north of Napa Valley's Calistoga. This is a spectacular property, situated at 3000 feet elevation. Soils are thin in the Red Hills and drain instantly. The elevation places vines well above the hot summer heat trapped in the valleys below, and aligns them in the path of cool westerly Pacific breezes.