2013 Mount Eden Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Grown, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The richly favored Estate Mount Eden Cabernet is a real California classic, showing off its unique terroir, with old school structure and ripe density making it striking in the glass now, but with the substance to age for another two or three decades, similar in that respect with Bordeaux’s best Left Bank estates! I finally got around to reviewing this one with its dark inky color and firm tannins it is still quite young and just starting to fully emerge, and better still, Mount Eden has started re-offering it through their library (cellar selection) release program recently, which I highly recommend jumping on. Mount Eden Vineyards, as I have noted in my reviews, is one of the longest running family estates in California that is famous for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, like Sonoma’s Hanzell, but has always done a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon, that is influenced by the location in the same way Ridge Vineyards’ Monte Bello and Kathryn Kennedy’s Cabernets do.This historic winery is perched up at 2000 feet, with an eastern exposure above Saratoga and overlooking the Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, just about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Mount Eden was founded in 1945 and was one of the original “boutique” California wineries by famed vintner Martin Ray, who as noted above concentrated his efforts on small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since 1981 Jeffrey Patterson, the current owner along with his wife Ellie, has guided the winemaking and grape growing at Mount Eden, taking it to the very top in terms of quality making it an iconic producer. The soils at Mountain Eden are very thin with a dominant base of Franciscan shales, which are found in these coastal range vineyards, which suits these vines, along with the Pacific breezes and cooler nights here makes for tremendous balance, depth and truly great wines.
The 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, hand crafted by Patterson, a vigneron who believes that all wines are made in the vineyard, fermented it using 85% Cabernet Sauvignon along with small percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in small 1,000-gallon stainless steel tanks, with Patterson doing punch downs manually and macerated it, as he notes, for about ten days after fermentation completed, then was transferred into new Bordelaise chateau barrels where this Cabernet is aged close to twenty-two months in the cellar. As well documented Mount Eden’s famous estate as started by Martin Ray and now run by the Patterson family, who have turned this remote property on a rugged mountaintop in the Santa Cruz Mountains into one of the most world renown wineries in the world. The cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon at Mount Eden Vineyards are from Chateau Margaux originally, coming to California likely in the 1890’s and this 2013 is a continuation of some great wines from this property and is followed by two stunning vintages as well, with the 2014 being one of my favorites and the 2015 which I recently tried at the Slow Wine Tasting in San Francisco and will get a review soon, though I thought since this one is starting to really getting into its groove I’d get my thoughts down now. This ’13 feels opulent and has wonderful mouth feel, while still having serious grip and depth, it defines what California Cabernet is at its best like the wines from Dunn, Corison, the mentioned Ridge, Phillip Togni, Diamond Creek and Chappellet’s Pritchard Hill bottlings. The flavors unfold is fine detail here with blackberries, black plum, creme de cassis (deep currant), cherry and blueberry fruits along with a sweet smokiness, subtle pipe tobacco, mineral, acacia flower, minty sage, cedar and sandalwood. Mount Eden is on fire right now, the Estate lineup is as good as it gets, in particular the latest Chards impresses, and should be thought of as Montrachet rival, and the Pinot and Cabernet are stunning, especially the 2012, this 2013 plus the following 2014 and 2015 versions, don’t miss these brilliant years.
($90-125 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive