Following the visit to Varner (see previous post) our group called in at Chaine d'Or. Paul poured a few barrel samples of the 2009 and 2008 vintages.
2009 Syrah, Split Rail Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains Barrel sample
Since the beginning Stefania have been looking for a local source for Syrah, and have found an excellent one in the Split Rail vineyard.
The nose is savoury, with soy, smoke and black fruit. It's rich and intense; lots of black fruit and white pepper, with a touch of liquorice on the finish. Delicious, even at this early stage.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chaine d'Or Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains Barrel sample
The Chaine d'Or vineyard is in a particularly cool microclimate; as a result the wines are very strucured and take a while to come round. The 2009 has a nose that's somewhat old world, with earthy, meaty and forest notes, with some smoke. In the mouth it's tight with black fruit and lots of tannin especially on the finish. It's going to need at least 5 years.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Crimson Clover Vineyard, Santa Clara Valley Barrel sample
The Crimson Clover Vineyard will replace Uvas Creek as Stefania's source for Santa Clara Valley cabernet. The vineyard is located in the same vicinity and is farmed by Paul and Stef. The nose is elegant and dusty; on the palate there's rich blackcurrant fruit with, biscuit and herbal notes on the finish. It's a big, rich
new world wine in stark contrast to the Chaine d'Or Vineyard.
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains Barrel Sample
This is the final blend, returned to barrel prior to being bottled. At the moment it's pretty tight; the nose was showing some earthy black fruit, but not much. There's the typical blackcurrant, eucalyptus and menthol from previous vintages, with good structure and a long finish.
If you're already on the Stefania mailing list these should be no-brainer purchases. If you aren't on the list then you should be; I don't know of anyone making better wines anywhere in California at this price point.