This wine defines our passion for mountain grown Cabernet Sauvignon. At 1,500 feet elevation, at the end of a long and winding road, Larry Stricker’s picturesque vineyard comprises a series of steep hillsides and mixed sedimentary and volcanic soils. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines that cling to its slopes produce small clusters of deeply concentrated grapes that lead to statuesque wines with immense aging potential.
My good friend, Mike Martini, whose family bought Monte Rosso in the late 1930s, shares a couple of blocks with me every year. At 1,200 feet elevation, this is a classic mountain vineyard, resting firmly on the southwest side of the Mayacamas mountain range. Sitting above the fog line, the vineyard’s iron-rich soils are red, rocky and well drained. The old, head-pruned vines struggle for nutrients and the rich, concentrated fruit shows it.
We buy these grapes from Dr. Andolsen, our long-time friend and family doctor. The steep, terraced vineyard is located in Dry Creek’s western foothills. This Cabernet is herbaceous and earthy as we have come to expect from this vineyard, but is more fruit forward than previous vintages. Black currant, plum, and white peppercorn take over on the nose while cedar, earth and unmistakable cassis dance on the palate, leaving a long finish.
To make the best wine for your table, there is a time-honored tradition of blending in Dry Creek Valley. It starts in the vineyard, with field blends of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and other varieties. And it continues in the winery, blending different vineyards to produce a wine with classic Dry Creek Valley character. Gino’s Zinfandel represents a traditional field blend that my grandfather, Gino, made each year. This vintage is full of lush ripe red fruit. It has a core of sweet red currant and strawberry with a bright finish which make this a great match for many foods.
Aromas of poached pear, vanilla and ripe apples practically jump out of the glass. Meyer lemon curd and butterscotch appear underneath the primary scents with an interesting rocky minerality that helps to balance the richness and creaminess of this wine created by full malolactic fermentation and 18 months of barrel aging. Ed has been sourcing fruit from the Gamble Ranch for over 40 years.
Farmed by our family for decades, Home Ranch vineyards is located at the southeast end of Dry Creek Valley, with temperatures cooler than most of the appellation; closer to typical Russian River temperatures then Dry Creek Valley ones. The long, ideal 2018 growing season created a textbook Sonoma Chardonnay – aromas of ripe green apples and apricots, ripe fruit flavors with notes of pineapple, grapefruit and lemon oil, and finishing with a kiss of vanilla, sweet oak and cloves.