Grapelive: Wine of the Day October 9, 2021

2017 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Small Lots, Bates Ranch, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Very Bordeaux like, this 2017 Alfaro Family Small Lot Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon shows an elegant and complex array of dark flavors with a beautiful full bodied palate of blackberry, plum, black currant and earthy blueberry fruits that are supported by classic Medoc notes of black olive, peppery spices, crushed gravel, mineral tones, tobacco, cedar, licorice and smoky gun flint. There’s a lot to admire here for those that are enthusiasts of Left Bank wines, and there is plenty of structure, low natural alcohol at 13.5%, and a firm feeling grip to remind you this is a young Cabernet that will enjoy some medium term cellaring. While known for his gorgeous Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs, winemaker Richard Alfaro, based in Corralitos in the Southwest zone of the Santa Cruz Mountains also does some intriguing Bordeaux varietals, including this one from the critically acclaimed Bates Ranch that is in a warmer climate, protected from the marine influence on the Eastern slopes as well as his Estate Merlot and Estate Malbec, his newest creation.

The Bates Ranch Cabernet was planted back in 1978 and set is on red Franciscan series, iron rich and gravelly volcanic soils that delivers a striking mineral elegance and warm ripeness. Richard Alfaro aged his Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon for 12 months in French oak barrels of which was about 40% new to give this wine its smoky sweet toasty accents and help smooth out the tannins here. Located along the historic Redwood Retreat Road close to Gilroy, as Alfaro notes, the Bates Ranch was settled near Mount Madonna in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, where the Bates Family has been growing robust and quality grapes for four generations now. The area is sees a generous climate for Bordeaux varietals, especially good for Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, highlighted by warm days and cool nights, resulting in fabulous wines like this one and notably Ian Brand’s outstanding Cab Franc. This dark purple/garnet Cab opens nicely and adds hints of acacia flower, sage and lingering kirsch, coco and cassis, all of which adds to the pleasure in this fine effort, it is a wine that is much more enjoyable with robust cuisine that smooths out the raw tannin, this stuff is an excellent value.
($45 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive