Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 69

YEAR'S BEST US CABERNETS & BLENDS
started a California project in 2012, working in Napa Valley, but it wasn't until they
found a vineyard on Bradford Mountain in
Dry Creek Valley to make this 2017 that they
decided to offer their first Thoroughbred
Cabernet from California. They found the
site had some similarities to their vineyard in
Barossa, and make the wine the same way, to
highlight the differences in the terroir. This is
an elegant take on the warmth of Dry Creek
Valley, rich with the scents of cigar smoke
and ripe cassis. The sweet fruit lends a touch
of syrup to the texture, tightened up by dry
tannins. Pour it with shepherd's pie. - J.G. §

521630

90 | Square, Plumb & Level $30

2018 Dry Creek Valley Peterson Vineyard
(Best Buy) ^ Bill Knuttel made this wine from
a dry-farmed vineyard on Bradford Mountain. It marries the cassis and blueberry notes
of cabernet sauvignon with the crisp herbal
tones of cabernet franc. Alcohol plays a role,
warming the finish, but it's the dark fruit that
persists, leaving the mouth warmed up for
lamb. - J.G. §

KNIGHTS VALLEY
521689

92 | Beringer

$36

2017 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ This grows in the volcanic soils
of Beringer's Knights Valley estate, a property that consistently produces some of the
greatest values in North Coast cabernet. In
2017, the mineral earthiness of those soils
shows in the tannins, providing an edge to
the fragrant red-cherry and boysenberry flavors. Firm and mouthwatering, this wine is
restrained and gentle despite its size. - J.G. §
519759

92 | Rodney Strong

$55

2017 Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ This is a big, rich red that
contrasts its velvet density with rose scents. It
feels cool and generous, with chocolatey oak
saturating its blackberry flavors. Supple and
gentle, the wine has a formal structure that
will carry it for several years of development
in the cellar. (W&S 4/20; 233 cases) -J.G. §
521690

90 | Beringer

$70

2017 Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ Ripened to dark fig flavors, this
smoky wine has the brisk mineral tannins of
cabernet grown in volcanic soils. The flavors
are further darkened by new oak, though
they retain enough freshness to suggest the
wine will benefit from a few years of bottle
age to reveal its complexities. - J.G. §

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
521628

92 | Tessier

$38

2018 Russian River Valley Alegria Vineyard Cabernet Franc ^ Kristie Tacey left a
career in biotech to focus on making wines.
She launched Tessier in 2009, producing
small lots of pinot noir, then extending her
reach toward varieties originally hailing from
the Rhône and Loire valleys. This cabernet
franc takes the Loire inspiration and finds a
home for it at an organically farmed vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Tacey harvested it fresh and ripe at 12.4 percent potential alcohol, included some whole clusters in
the fermentation (25 percent), then aged the
wine in neutral French oak barrels. It's lovely,
bright and zesty, a wine to make any Loire
aficionado smile (well, it made me smile).
Lightly saturated with cranberry flavors and
green-herb freshness, this would be remarkably easy to drink with pork rillettes or any
cured meats. - J.G. §

S O N O M A M O U N TA I N

east, into the morning sun, creating an elegant cabernet in the 2016 vintage. Its herbal
tobacco scents and racy flavors of red and
black currants feel youthfully compressed.
The earthy tannins combine the richness of
black-cherry skins and flourless chocolate
cake. Tense for now, this needs several years
in the cellar to mellow and evolve; knowing Laurel Glen's track record, it will likely
develop well for a decade or more. - J.G. §

SONOMA VALLEY & MOON
M O U N TA I N D I S T R I C T
521528

93 | St. Francis

$68

92 | Gundlach Bundschu

$55

2017 Moon Mountain District Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ Chris Louton works with fruit
from the Caton and Montecillo vineyards in
the hills above Sonoma Valley, creating this
elegant wine that's persistent and gracefully
structured. The youthful flavors bring blackberries and black raspberries to mind, their
freshness sustained by dusty, fine-grained
tannins. It's a supple cabernet with a shape
that suggests it will age well. - J.G. §
521524
2016 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
(Best Buy) ^ This wine has an old-fashioned
charm, with cedary scents and a little Bretty
complexity. The texture is lush and generous,
the finish perfumed with notes of beeswax
and ripe cranberries, along with chocolaterich oak that brings it to the present day.
Pour it with roast boar. - J.G. §

521521

93 | Laurel Glen

$50

2017 Sonoma Mountain Counterpoint
Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ Randall
Watkins blends Counterpoint using cabernet from Laurel Glen and merlot from Pickberry Vineyards, producing an accessible red
that's particularly interesting in 2017. With
fires impacting the vineyards toward the end
of harvest, Watkins decided to press some of
the remaining cabernet immediately off its
skins, then ferment it with the skins of the
grapes harvested before the fires. He sold
off a substantial portion in bulk, maintaining the best results to bottle 800 cases, about
half the usual production. The wine is luscious, delicious and pretty great. A luxurious
blend with red-plum flavors at its center, it
has a juicy black-walnut tone to the tannins,
and long-lasting fruit in the finish. - J.G. §
521522

92 | Laurel Glen

$90

2016 Sonoma Mountain Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Farmed by Phil
Coturri, who earned organic certification for
the vineyard in 2014, Laurel Glen's vines face

521772

92 | Louis M. Martini

$125

2016 Sonoma Valley Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Dark scents of
licorice infuse this silken red from the red
volcanic soils of Monte Rosso, the historic
vineyard on the Sonoma side of the Mayacamas Mountains, a property the Martini
family has farmed since 1938. The wine is
warmed by alcohol, even as it feels refreshing and completely filled by volumes of fruit.
WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

69


https://www.craftedbrands.com/portfolio/square-plumb-level/ https://www.louismartini.com/wines/monte-rosso-cabernet-sauvignon-2016

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 8
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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