LCBO Vintages Classics Collection
The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA holds a special distinction: It is home to the only two estate-bottled mountain-grown Cabernets that are truly influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Both have been at it awhile. The first is Ridge Monte Bello (1962), the second is Mount Eden Estate. In 1945, legendary vintner Martin Ray began to develop Mount Eden’s estate vineyard on a rugged mountaintop in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Today, the site consists of 40 acres of low-yielding vines. Planted in infertile Franciscan shale, the vineyards are 25 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean, and enjoy a cool yet sunny climate above the fog line. The growing season here is long, and naturally low yields, along with slow, steady maturation, result in incredibly intense fruit.
If you appreciate the qualities that result in Bordeaux varietals grown on the edge – namely, low alcohols, earth-driven flavours, and unique terroir – Cabernet from the Santa Cruz Mountains are prime examples. These are lower alcohol wines with full flavours that evolve beautifully with time.
This 2014 Estate Cabernet is a masterpiece. William Kelley previously reporting for UK Magazine Decanter and now with the Wine Advocate summed it up best “A complex bouquet of wild berries, cassis, cigar box and mountain laurel prefaces a savoury, full-bodied wine with a three-dimensional, layered chassis of fine-grained tannin and a nicely reserved core with good depth and bright acidity. This dependably age-worthy cuvée can look forward to three decades of evolution in the cellar.” Estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon is backed by small quantities of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Fruit macerated in small open-top stainless steel tanks, and was then fermented by naturally occurring yeast. The young wine was aged in new French oak for nearly two years before it was bottled, unfiltered and unfined, and aged another two years prior to release.
“One of the finest vintages of this cuvée I’ve tasted, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a thrill a minute with its fabulous bouquet of crème de cassis, charcoal embers, spice, and subtle vanilla oak aromas and flavors. Possessing medium to full body, an incredibly layered, seamless texture, moderate acidity, and present, ripe tannins, it has some upfront charm given its purity of fruit and texture, but deserves 3-4 years of bottle age and is going to keep for two decades. This beauty rivals Ridge’s Monte Bello and is an incredible example of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in this mountain terroir.”
97 points, Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, Feb 2019
“One of California’s original boutique wineries, Mount Eden Vineyards was founded in 1945 by Paul Masson and Martin Ray. Winemaker Jeffrey Patterson has led this low-yielding estate since 1981, attributing its success to wine-growing, rather than winemaking. Surprisingly the heritage of the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon vines can be traced back to the 1890s, when viticulturist Emmett Rixford obtained cuttings from Château Margaux in Bordeaux. Stephen Brook: Black fruits nose, with discreet new oak. Surprisingly approachable with a ripe fruit mid-palate. Vibrant, deft and fruity style. Alex Hunt MW: The palate has just the right ratio of gloss to structure; a firm core beautifully fleshed out by fruit. Impeccable harmony here. Stefan Neumann MS: Delicate, earthy aromas lead to a compact core with ripe fruit. Great potential, with great acid to back up the power.”
96 points, Decanter Panel Tasting, April 2018
“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous. Racy and linear in the glass, the 2014 is superb from start to finish. The 2014 is remarkably fresh considering the brutal drought conditions of the year. Bright floral notes, red-toned fruit and fine yet insistent tannins are some of the signatures in this super-expressive Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet. Vivid and chiseled in style, the 2014 will drink well for several decades. I loved it.”
94+ points, Antonio Galloni vinous.com, June 2018
“Black-plum sauce, Chinese five-spice and a hint of black olive linger behind the prominent pine-oil and woodspice aromas on the nose of this bottling from the acclaimed producer. The palate is also very woody and savory, with oak and pine forest flavors slipping into baked blackberry and dark plum.”
92 points, Wine Enthusiast, Dec 2018