Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Former Bargetto winemaker Michael Sones has been crafting interesting wines under his own label for around 10 years, initially focusing primarily on good value Zinfandel and Petite Sirah - two varieties that Bargetto isn't well known for.
Production is around the 1300 case mark.

2012 Cancion Del Mar
A lone white wine in a sea of reds, this is a blend of
Viognier, Pinot Gris, Torrontés and Sauvignon Blanc. The nose is floral, with mineral notes; it's a rich, smooth creamy wine; less crisp than I remember previous vintages being, but still a good wine to have with seafood.

2010 Zinfandel, Zayante Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
An intense, rich wine whose raspberry nose follows on through the palate into the finish. Good structure. Recommended.

2009 Syrah Zayante Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
This is a wine that calls out for a slow cooked pot roast or stew. From the gamey, meaty nose to the tart, raspberry finish it continues to evolve and change, revealing notes of eucalyptus, cocoa and pepper on the way. Recommended.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wiedeman Vineyard, Santa Clara Valley
Sporting a label by local artist Ben Davis Jr,  this archetypal valley floor Cabernet shows blackcurrant, brambles and coffee. Nice acidity and a good finish. Recommended.

2011 Fashionably Late Zinfandel 
I was a little surprised to see any kind of late harvest red wine from 2011; a cooler vintage where mildew, odium and botrytis were a constant issue and rains at harvest forced many to pick early - yet here we have a Zinfandel with 5% residual sugar.
As you'd expect it's intense with plenty of raspberry flavors, but little else; it cries out for something to give it more backbone (a hint of Petite Sirah maybe?)

2012 Sack
Caileen with the 2010 Wiedeman Vineyard
Cabernet Sauvignon
Sack was an old English term for fortified wines from Spain. It grew in popularity in the Elizabethan age despite - or because of - the ongoing war between Elizabeth and Philip II. In Henry IV part 2 the character Falstaff performs a monologue in praise of “sherris sack”, concluding “If I had a thousand sons, the first humane principle I would teach them should be, to forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack.”

This wine was produced in association with Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and some of the profits go to support that group. It began as a base white wine made from Torrontés  which was then fortified with brandy and sweetened with grape must. It comes in at 18% ABV.

Hard to know what to compare it to. It doesn’t have the same oxidation or maturity of a modern Sherry; neither does it have the freshness of a Pineau or Mistelle or the sweetness of a Tokaj. Instead the Torrontés gives it a very appealing floral nose, with notes of peach or apricot, but unfortunately on the palate it’s rather flat; there’s either too much heat from the brandy or not enough sweetness from the must. A curiosity that will appeal to some but doesn't really work for me.