2010 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine & Spirits
Most of the fruit for this restrained, savory Cabernet comes from cuttings Emmett Rixford purportedly sourced from Château Margaux in the 1890s. Martin Ray propagated his own cuttings from that selection to plant in this vineyard's shallow, shale-laced soils at 1,800 feet of elevation in the 1940s and 50s, and later Jeffrey Patterson replanted it in the 1980s with a selection from those vines. Is it just a coincidence that, tasting this blind, my thoughts turned to a 1985 Margaux I tasted recently? Maybe it was the gentle elasticity of the texture, the vibrant acidity, the rosy glow streaming through a curtain of ripe, earthy tannins. This feels layered with complexity: Beyond the pure cassis tone you might find lavender, graphite, redwood bark, black olive and green herbs. But you don't need to go fishing for descriptors to appreciate its nuances: just think of it as lovely, integrated, old-school California Cabernet. Buy a case and try not to drink most of it until 2030.
Often the most overlooked wine in the Mount Eden range, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon shows the pedigree of this great vintage. Firm veins of tannin support a core of black fruit, tar, grilled herbs, smoke and incense in a wild, savory mountain Cabernet Sauvignon that dazzles with its exceptional overall balance and personality. This is another fabulous new release from Mount Eden. 94+ (AG)
Slightly funky scents of asphalt and sweaty socks come along with graphite, pressed blackberry and New Mexico chile. The palate is led by tobacco-laced zing, opening with boysenberry flavors, and finishing with decent acidity and mouth-coating tannins.
Very Bordeaux-like in terms of flavor, weight and profile, offering trim cedar and dried berry fruit, with jazzy, mahogany-laced wood, mocha and black licorice notes. Lively acidity keeps the flavors fresh.
From a parcel of Mount Eden's estate vineyard planted in 1981 and 1982, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is complemented by 5% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine was fermented on native yeast in small tanks and the wine spent 21 months in half French oak (60% new) and half American oak (previously filled). From the winemaker: "The hallmark and beauty of this year is transparency of the fruit and abundant complexity. Black fruit, incense and sweet spices in the nose, with silky tannins and an endless array of violet, sage, espresso and grilled herbs on the palate, this Cabernet has exceptional overall balance and personality with an elegance that reminds me of a bygone era. Drinking window: 2017-2030."