Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 71

YEAR'S BEST US CABERNETS & BLENDS
get in its way, delivering a fragrance of roses
and black raspberries over that dark cherry
core, the fruit tannins reading as depths of
umami earthiness completely integrated
into the silken texture. This wine advanced
for several days after it was first opened, then
retreated, then came back on the fifth day as
a dark, seductive beauty, a Monte Bello that
will live for decades. - J.G. §
521731

95 | Mount Eden

$95

2016 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ It's rare to find joyous cabernet:
This is a wine with bounce to its black raspberry and red currant fruit, as if that succulent fruit were rising directly out of the warm,
earthy tannins. Jeffrey Patterson grew this at
his historic vineyard, where cabernet sauvignon (75 percent), merlot (22 percent) and
franc are rooted in shale soils 15 miles from
the Pacific and 2,000 feet above it, the vine
selections tracing their lineage directly back
to 19th-century Bordeaux. The 2016 is compressed as a young wine, needing four days
after the bottle is first opened to fully show
itself, when it will turn your head with its
lovely weight of sumptuous fruit. Give it a
decade or more in the cellar to get the most
out of the bottle. - J.G. §
521728

93 | Ridge

91 | Ashes & Diamonds

$105

2017 Santa Cruz Mountains Bates Ranch
Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Diana Snowden
Seysses makes this wine from a vineyard
in the southern reaches of the Santa Cruz
Mountains, the cabernet sauvignon grown
at an elevation of 2,100 feet and blended
with cabernet franc, planted lower down the
volcanic slope in 1972, the two cofermented
with ambient yeasts. A monumental mountain wine, this is dynamic and forceful, delivering ripe blackberry flavors and textural
pleasure, a double whammy crowded into
the middle of the wine, needing bottle age
to settle out and lengthen. - J.G. §

$65

2017 Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Cab-
ernet Sauvignon ^ The limestone seabed on
which this cabernet grows produces Monte
Bello as well as this Estate bottling, a selection of the parcels that provide a more accessible wine early on. Those parcels rise up the

521839

91 | J. Lohr

$60

2016 Paso Robles Cuvée PAU ^ A blend of
two-thirds cabernet sauvignon, the rest cabernet franc and petite verdot, this might be
the most Bordeaux-like of Lohr's Bordeauxinspired series in 2016. It's leathery and burnished, with a fine melding of plum and
savory notes delivered by silky, precise tannins. It has the finesse for roast lamb. -P.J.C. §

521841

91 | J. Lohr

PA S O R O B L E S

$60

2016 Paso Robles Cuvée St. E ^ A Right
Bank-inspired blend focused on cabernets
franc and sauvignon, this feels like classic
Paso in its forward and rich ripeness. The flavors are sunny and opulent, firmly contained
by dark fruit-skin tannins. For steak. -P.J.C. §

$85

2017 Santa Cruz Mountains Klein Caber-
net Sauvignon ^ This vineyard on Monte
Bello Road was originally planted to cabernet
sauvignon in 1888 by Pierre Klein. The site,
rising from 1,200 to 2,000 feet elevation,
later came to be known as Jimsomare and
provided Ridge with a single-vineyard cabernet from 1978 through 1997. Ridge took over
the vineyard during that time and it is now
a part of the firm's Monte Bello estate. This
2017 is the first single-vineyard release from
the site since the 1990s, encouraged by a
season with ample winter rain and a warm
summer. It's a brisk, oceanic red, all about
cabernet grown in limestone. The wine's lush
raspberry flavor and lively herbal freshness
is driven by acidity, pointing up the spicy
tannins, which are light but persistent. It
has the kind of structure that makes a lean
cabernet from the Médoc so facile with
fish. Elegance from the coastal Santa Cruz
Mountains. - J.G. §
521308

93 | Ridge

mountainside in Cupertino, ranging from
1,300 to 2,700 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
Crafted by Eric Baugher, the 2017 is an austere yet concentrated wine with mellow
intensity, its organically farmed fruit offering fresh black currant and anise savor, its
tannins capturing the mineral inflection
and tension that limestone soils can give.
Rather than effusive enthusiasm, it's a wine
of coastal harmony. Zen cabernet. -J.G.
(W&S 10/20; 4,250 cases) §
521729

521798

92 | Brea

$25

2018 Paso Robles Margarita Vineyard
Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ Partners
Tim Elenteny, of T. Elenteny Imports, and
Chris Brockway, of Broc Cellars, focus Brea
on affordable wines made from cool-climate
fruit with minimal intervention. This one,
from a vineyard on the southern end of Paso
Robles, starts out dark and savory, with notes
of black-currant tea and plum that become
vibrant with time in the glass. Driven by acidity and minerality rather than oak, it's invigorating juice, and a steal at the price. -P.J.C. §

519669

90 | Ancient Peaks

$22

2017 Paso Robles Santa Margarita Ranch
Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ This seductive cabernet leads with savory aromas of
black olive and pine. It is deep and flavorful, with an Amarone-like richness framed by
firm but pliable tannins. It's a guilty pleasure
to pour with steak and chimichurri. - P.J.C.
(W&S 4/20) §

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

71


https://www.jlohr.com/wines/2016-cuvee-pau-red-blend https://www.jlohr.com/wines/2016-cuvee-st-e https://www.breawineco.com/cabernet-sauvignon https://shop.ancientpeaks.com/product/2017-Pearl-Cabernet-Sauvignon?_ga=2.2770226.302315211.1604000141-1422263747.1604000141

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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