Smoothly textured and medium bodied, this elegant wine begins with rich aromatic expressions of blackberry and crème de cassis above layers of dark-roast coffee beans, vanilla and bay leaf. It has forward black cherry flavors, a middle of spicy mocha and black olive, and finish of dark fruit and toasted oak that harmonizes with rounded tannins and upbeat acidity to construct a delicate balance.
Two mountain ranges removed from the Pacific Ocean, Lake County is generally warmer and dryer than the neighboring counties of Sonoma or Napa. Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California, is the heart and soul of the Lake County wine region, and is responsible for creating a specialized “lake effect” by compressing temperature extremes in nearby vineyards.
The Red Hills Lake County AVA is situated entirely within the Clear Lake AVA and at the foot of the dormant volcano Mount Konocti. The rolling terrain of this micro-region contains a thin veil of red volcanic soil above a deep layer of fractured obsidian, striking a dramatic counterpoint to the wider valleys and higher elevations of Lake County’s other areas.
Grapes were harvested from Amber Knolls Vineyard where the textbook conditions of 2,200-foot elevations, signature volcanic soils, and a warm dry climate were matched with Malbec Clone 4 on 110R rootstock in 2001. This 19-acre “all star” planting produces small early-maturing vines that transform stress resulting from minimal irrigation into small berries and loose clusters with favorable high skin-to-juice ratios and advanced flavor development.