100% Cabernet Sauvignon
96+ Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
Santa Cruz Mountains
Deep ruby color. Nose of cassis, black olive, cedar and pine forest, bay laurel, and sweet oak. Full bodied on the palate with notes of blackberry, olive, and wet stone. Well-integrated acidity and supple tannins on the finish. EB (4/20)
We selected the gate block at Klein vineyard for this year’s Historic Vineyard Series Cabernet Sauvignon. In this growing season, being short on rainfall, the stressed vines produced intensely flavorful grapes. We picked in late September, fermenting whole-berries in a small tank for greater extraction. Once pressed, the wine was moved into new American oak barrels to age. This excellent vintage will improve over the next fifteen years.
Pierre Klein, an Alsatian, purchased his Mira Valle property on Monte Bello Ridge in 1888. He planted cabernet sauvignon— possibly other Bordeaux varietals as well—and aspired to produce wines as great as those of the Médoc. During this early period of California’s wine industry, little cabernet was grown. Klein’s was one of the exceptions, and won a gold medal at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. Unfortunately, Prohibition led to the demise of Mira Valle and the abandonment of the vineyard. The Schwabacher family of San Francisco bought Klein’s land in 1936, renaming it “Jimsomare.” At our suggestion and with our support, cabernet was replanted in the early seventies; Ridge produced a small quantity of Jimsomare Cabernet from 1978 until 1997. When Ridge took over the vineyard in 1996, it became part of the Monte Bello estate vineyard. This year, we selected a limited number of barrels for a separate bottling. This excellent cabernet sauvignon will develop its full complexity over the next fifteen to twenty years.
Rainfall: 26 inches (below normal)
Weather: Winter rains were late to arrive, delivering a season’s worth or rainfall in March. Spring remained cold with heavier than usual fog, slowing the progress for a late September harvest.
Harvest Date: 25 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.6˚
TA: 6.45 g/L
Fermentation: Destemmed and whole berry fermentation. Pressed at eight days. Fermented on the native yeasts. Natural malolactic initiated in tank, finished in barrel six weeks later. Remained on gross lees for fifteen weeks.
Barrels: 100% new air-dried American oak.
Aging: Eighteen months in barrel
Estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested; destemmed and sorted; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 80 ppm over the course of aging); oak from barrel aging; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
JebDunnuck.com: 96+ Points “Thrilling notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, charcoal, and tobacco leaf all emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Klein, which has a top Pauillac-like style in both its aromatics and its structure. Medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced, with silky yet substantial tannins, this is another riveting Cabernet from the northeast side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It offers some pleasure today, in a youthful, educational sense, but it will take a decade to hit maturity and will keep for 30 years or more. This cuvée is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from the lower portion of the estate Monte Bello Vineyard, and it was brought up all in new American oak. It’s a brilliant wine.” -Jeb Dunnuck (July 2021)
Average Rating: 93.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 11
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