Sonoma Mountain Cabernet
Our Cabernet Sauvignon Wines
Our Cabernet Sauvignon is more refined than many California mountain Cabernets.
A typical Laurel Glen Vineyard Estate Cabernet displays an inky, ruby color, an expressive bouquet of red cherries and blackberries, a velvety mid-palate, and always a spine of minerality that keeps the sweet fruit in check.
A typical Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet displays great structure and firm tannins, yet also manages to be fleshy. The aromas of raspberry and cassis are balanced by savory notes and a bright acidity, making this a uniquely food-friendly cabernet.
The Lot Series, a relatively recent addition to the Cabernet offerings from our estate vineyard on Sonoma Mountain, is the biggest boned wine of the portfolio. A typical Lot Series Cabernet Sauvignon has a very firm frame of chewy tannins and lively acid with a long, grippy finish. The style is more rustic with “bags of personality”, to quote Lisa Parotti-Brown MW.
Laurel Glen Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Mountain Cabernet at its Best
Since 1968, our Sonoma Mountain estate has produced memorable Cabernet Sauvignon of the highest quality. With our flagship Estate Cabernet, we seek to provide pure and authentic Cabernet Sauvignon to wine enthusiasts looking for a sense of place in their wines.
2018 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Notes
Mild winter weather gave way to a cold, wet spring with much of Sonoma County worried about frost damage. Fortunately, cold air slides downhill and so our mountain vineyard did not suffer, although both bud break and flowering got off to a later-than-normal start. Summer brought lower- than-normal temperatures with very few heat spikes, resulting in great phenolic development in the grapes and even ripening across all our vineyard sites.
The mild weather allowed us to take our time and pick each block as it became optimally ripe. As a result, harvest lasted almost a month, from September 27 to October 22, 2018. Additionally, after three years of extremely small yields, we were blessed in 2018 with the most abundant harvest since 2014.
Once in barrel, the wines showed prodigious depth and incredible character that wonderfully displayed the benefits of slow, even ripening. Many winemakers are comparing 2018 to the much lauded 2012 vintage, due to the extended ripening time, fantastic balance and excellent concentration of the grapes.”
94 points – Vinous: “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is bright, effusive and packed with energy . . . The purity of the flavors is just compelling. Black cherry, lavender, pine, menthol and dried herbs linger on the vibrant, salivating finish.”
96 points – Top 100 Wines – Wine & Spirits: “. . . a wine that leave a layered sensation of tannins and fruit skin and fruit flesh on the breath. The fruit lasts on the fragrance of fruit blossoms, cherry blossoms and cherry leaf, the flavor lush and delicious, an herbal bath with red fruit surround sound. “
2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Notes
What started as an excellent harvest was upended by the wildfires that ravaged Sonoma County in October. The hot, dry weather in August led to an early harvest. We started picking on September 14. Three weeks later, that hot, dry weather contributed to widespread wildfires. Access to our vineyard was cut off for two weeks. When we finally returned to the vineyard, over an acre of some of our oldest vines had burned and some of the fruit still hanging was damaged by smoke. The fruit picked before the fires, including from the old vines that subsequently burned, became this wine, our flagship Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tasting notes from Winemaker Randall Watkins: “Inky purple color with aromas of cherry, blackberry, sage, peppercorns, and just a hint of cocoa. Supple and finely textured, the wine has great freshness and depth, juicy acidity and tannins that are both firm and velvety.”
Virginie Boone Tasting Notes in Wine Enthusiast: “With a complex structure of firm tannin and substantial length, this youthful wine shows a juiciness of currant, a complement to the wealth of sage, cedar and pencil shaving that more impactfully define it. Entirely varietal, it will age well; enjoy best from 2027 through 2035.” 94 points – Cellar Selection
2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Notes
Winemaker Randall Watkins introduces the small but exceptional 2016 vintage . . .
Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon
The Perfect Complement to our Estate Cabernet
In music ‘counterpoint’ is the relationship between voices that are harmonically interdependent yet independent in rhythm and contour. There is no word that we could find that could better express the relationship between this wine and our flagship Laurel Glen Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Following the contours of the distinctive Sonoma Mountain appellation, we were able to bring together Cabernet Sauvignon from Laurel Glen Vineyard and Merlot from Pickberry Vineyards to create a unique voice that expresses itself greater than the sum of its parts. The challenge was to find Sonoma Mountain fruit selections that were complex enough to engage, and yet seductively approachable. We are pleased to have accomplished this.
Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon beautifully reflects the pedigree synonymous with Laurel Glen Vineyard, while establishing itself as uniquely harmonious and stylish. For the astute buyer this wine will dress up for a special occasion and at the same time remain a dependable value that you can share (or not) in full confidence that pleasure will result from every bottle opened.
2019 Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon
We are sometimes blessed with more than one exceptional vintage in a row here in Sonoma County, and 2019 is a perfect example; An excellent year coming on the heels of the exceptional 2018 vintage. What makes a great vintage? Mother Nature! We had perfect grape growing weather in 2019. The days were warm but not excessively so and the nights were cooler than they’ve been in many summers, allowing for slow, even ripening.
We picked a larger than average-sized crop between September 24th and October 8th. The size of our harvest was unusual as many wineries suffered low yields due to persistent drought conditions. However, years spent farming organically and building the tilth of the soil really paid off for us in 2019.
92 points – Vinous: “The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Counterpoint is a gorgeous wine that captures all the character and personality of this Sonoma Mountain site. Black cherry, herbs, lavender, spice, gravel and menthol lend quite a bit of nuance to a wine that marries forward fruit and mountain structure. The 2019 is a jewel of a wine.”
93 points – Wine Enthusiast: “From the vaunted producer, this soft, approachable wine is supple and plush in its youth, ready to unfurl on the palate in baked plum and dark cherry. Baking spice and toasted oak add to the length and grace.”
The Lot Series
Connecting the Past to the Future
The Lot Series is our homage to the Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernets of the mid-1980’s and 1990’s. Beginning with the 2012 vintage, Randall Watkins chooses the barrels with the most power and personality from Laurel Glen Vineyard. Most years, just 6 or 7 barrels meet the criteria to become this wine. Our aim is a wine that will taste, in a couple of decades, the way the 1990 Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon does today.
2016 Lot 48 Cabernet Sauvignon
“A wine made in tiny amounts to mark the 48th harvest at the estate, this red is sanguine in black olive tapenade and dusty, Old World notes of currant and cassis. Well integrated and structured, its tight tannin profile suggests further aging; enjoy best from 2026–2036.” Cellar Selection – 94 points. Virginie Boone for Wine Enthusiast
2015 Lot 47 Cabernet Sauvignon
“This is a selection of five barrels chosen for structure and complexity; the wine 100% varietal and estate-grown. Baking spice and clove on the nose lead to soft, leathery earth and a juicy midpalate of currant and plum, while secondary elements of crushed rock and cocoa powder add nuanced texture. .” 94 points – Virginie Boone for Wine Enthusiast
2014 Lot 46 Cabernet Sauvignon
“Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 46 has a seriously intense, wonderfully earthy nose of tilled soil, mossy bark, truffles and iron ore over a core of sweaty leather, smoked meats, black olives, crème de cassis and preserved plums. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a very firm frame of chewy tannins and lively acid with tons of earthy layers and a long, grippy finish. The style is a bit rustic, but it has bags of personality.” – 93+ points – Lisa Perotti-Brown MW for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
2012 Lot 44 Cabernet Sauvignon
” . . . blueberry and black raspberry, along with cassis, licorice and forest floor. It is full-bodied, opulent, savory and multidimensional. Another terrific and youthful but promising wine, it should evolve for at least two decades.” – 94+ points, Robert Parker for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate