This are few things in the wine world better than boutique, small batch California Cabernets. The big over the top Napa Valley versions will run you $500-750/bottle easily, but I find they can sometimes be clumsy, made to be completely enormous to garner ooos and ahhs but not nearly as firm and structured as I like.
No, if you’ve been paying attention, I have always tried to lure people over to the dark side and the Santa Cruz Mountains with wineries like Ridge, Thomas Fogarty and Mount Eden. The reason is simple– it’s old-school California Cabernet, the altitude gives the wine incredible acidity and backbone and then wines come out perfectly chiseled and roaring to go.
Mount Eden has long been an iconic player in arguably the most underrated region in the country. Situated at 2000 feet above sea level on a mountain peak, you are literally above the clouds at this picturesque vineyard that Wine Spectator famously questioned might be the best in all of California.* If you want to get to the closest thing to heaven on Earth, I suggest a visit.
Especially considering the Cabernet that was sent to me a few months ago and which I have been patiently waiting on the sidelines to take the max amount allowed (3 stinking cases!) is easily one of the best domestic Cabs I’ve had in quite some time. It is an absolute joy to drink, the result of wine of the finer winemaking jobs in recent memory. Perfectly structured tannins, great weight, a little Merlot and Cabernet Franc to round it out. It’s Mountain Cab gold. I was so floored by this thing, I went to see if anyone reviewed it and shared my opinion, and found Antonio Galloni of Vinous felt the same way. So did Jeb Dunnuck who declared, “this will give Ridge’s Montebello a run for its money.” That’s pretty darn high praise!
*“IS MOUNT EDEN CALIFORNIA’S GREATEST VINEYARD? Every time I have a great aged Mount Eden wine – which is most of the time – I’m in awe of how well it develops. This is a unique property in the sense that all three of the major grapes grown there – Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – not only are distinctive and classy, but they age incredibly well. Suppose if one were to only collect wine from one vineyard, Mount Eden would be a tough choice to beat.” -Wine Spectator
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97 + Points, Jeb Dunnuck
A brilliant, youthful unevolved wine that will give Ridge’s Monte Bello a run for its money, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon reveals a deep ruby/purple hue to go with a wonderful perfume of blackcurrants, blueberries, lead pencil, vanilla bean, exotic flowers, tobacco, and boquet garni. Needing plenty of air to show its best, it’s medium to full-bodied on the palate and has a concentrated powerful style, ripe tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish. A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, aged in used French and American oak, it’s going to benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age and I suspect have 30-40 years of overall longevity.
97 Points, Antonio Galloni- Vinous
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is going to need a number of years to come around. The only question is how many. In 2017, the Mount Eden Cabernet is shockingly opulent. Inky black fruit, bittersweet chocolate, spice, leather, and incense are all dialed up in this super-sized Cabernet. Even so, there is plenty of structure lurking beneath. I can’t wait to see how this ages.
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