Showcasing a brooding nose of dark fruit, mocha, black olive and leather, this wine displays flavorful layers of raspberry, black currant, vanilla-crème and pepper. Smooth, structured tannins lead to a dusty finish of sweet toasted oak.
Located in northern Sonoma County, Alexander Valley is best known for producing opulent, well-structured cabernet sauvignons and zinfandels. The region is 22 miles long, but only two-to-seven miles wide. The official demarcations include the valley floor as well as the eastern and western slopes, encompassing about 77,000 acres with more than 15,000 currently under vine.
Grapes were harvested from Meola Vineyards, a planting situated just north of Geyserville near the heart of Alexander Valley. This prime location offers warm sunny days and chilly nights that yield ripe, full-bodied wines with balanced acidity and rounded tannins. The mostly-organic vineyard consists of 20 acres of cabernet sauvignon and 10 acres of merlot planted in gravelly-loam soils deposited by the Russian River. The soils have outstanding drainage and heat retention, producing small vines with controlled vigor and low yields of intensely flavored fruit.
Sporadic rain fell in early 2009 with 50% of seasonal totals occurring in March. It was the third straight drought year and temperatures were slightly below norm. Budbreak was delayed until mid-March while A pril saw successful bloom and fruit set. April, May and early June showed foggy mornings and below average temperatures, but the latter reached triple digits in mid-June. The spike launched a cycle of two scorching weeks followed by 7–10 cool days through most of July, August and September. Seasonable cool mornings and warm days returned in late S eptember, but the vestiges of a Japanese typhoon dropped 3–4 inches of rain on some vineyards. We harvested most of our fruit during the clear three-week period following the storm, and were quite pleased with the results: small berries with good skin color that translated to rich, dark wines.