Hello friends. California is never going to be an area of focus for Full Pull. Today represents our third Cali offer of the year (Bedrock in January, Ridge in August). Call me a homer. Accuse me of having a Washington/Oregon palate. Both of those things are likely true.
But… that’s not to say there aren’t interesting things going on in Cali, and I intend to continue dipping our collective toes into two ends of the spectrum: the “new California wine” movement on one end, and the classics on the other.
Mount Eden is a classic producer in a classic Cali region: the Santa Cruz Mountains. As you can see, the vineyards are tucked into the rolling peaks of this region that is just a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley. It’s the wide-ranging elevation differences, as well as differences in maritime influence, that yield microclimates diverse enough to grow everything from Pinot Noir to Cabernet in this region.
The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA was established in 1981, the same year that Jeffrey Patterson joined Mount Eden as assistant winemaker. Mount Eden Vineyards has a much longer history even than that (it was founded in 1945!), and their website does a terrific job of documenting that history, for those interested in more details.
Here is Antonio Galloni, introducing the winery in his most recent write-up: [TEXT WITHHELD]
Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95+pts.”
Wine Spectator (James Laube): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”
I won’t add much here, as this one is quite limited, but it is a beauty to be sure, conveying brightness and depth, power and grace. There’s such honest Chardonnay character here; this is the kind of wine you hope to see on a blind tasting exam because it’s so true to form, true to grape, true to place. It has serious length and stuffing on a moderate-alc (13.5%) frame, and I expect it to age beautifully for decades.
Oh, and a quick bit of history from the winery: In the late 1940s and early 1960s, Martin Ray planted six acres of Chardonnay vines propagated from a Burgundian selection grown in the original Paul Masson vineyard. 20 acres of Estate Chardonnay are now farmed at Mount Eden from which 1,200 to 2,000 cases per year are produced. Yields average one to two tons per acre, far below the average for Chardonnay in California.
Here’s the winery, writing about their long history with Pinot: [TEXT WITHHELD]
This is raised entirely in French oak for 18 months, 75% new and the remainder one-year-old barrels. Bottled in August 2013, it has now had 2+ years to evolve in bottle. It clocks in at 13.5% listed alc and offers a wonderful nose of earth and smoke, red cherry and this beautiful/exotic floral tone of rosewater. The palate is savory, rich, honest to California but not over the top at all. There are plenty of earth and mineral tones to balance the supple fruit.
Wine & Spirits Magazine: “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
From the folks at Mount Eden:[TEXT WITHHELD]
If your frame of reference for California Cabernet is ripe-and-rich Napa Cab, this mountain-grown Cabernet will blow your mind. From a cool vintage, it drinks closer to left-bank Bordeaux than the rest of Cali, offering invigorating cool-vintage acidity and more than a little sense of the sauvage. There’s loads of dust and earth and cedar; wonderful warming spice notes (something like smoked paprika); and ah yes, some lovely redcurrant and red plum fruit as well. Fresh and minty, just a little funky/umami, this drinks like a wine whose best years are still well ahead of it, and one that is going to evolve in fascinating ways for many many years to come.
Wine & Spirits Magazine: “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”
Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”
Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in early November, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.