View from the Cellar, John Gilman
2013 Calluna Vineyards “CVC” (Calluna Vineyards Cuvée)
“The 2013 Calluna Vineyards Cuvée is comprised this year of a blend of forty percent merlot, twenty-eight percent cabernet sauvignon, fifteen percent cabernet franc, ten percent malbec and seven percent petit verdot. The wine offers up a superb and youthful bouquet of cassis, sweet dark berries, a touch of cigar wrapper, lovely, dark soil tones, a bit of espresso and a very discreet framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and still fairly primary, with a very elegant profile, a fine core and a long, beautifully balanced and ripely tannic finish. This will need a good six or seven years to blossom fully and should drink very well indeed for at least the following two or three decades. Fine, fine juice.”
2013 Calluna Vineyards “aux Raynauds” Merlot
“David Jeffrey makes one of my absolute favorite merlot bottlings in California and his 2013 is excellent. The wine includes fully seventeen percent cabernet franc in the blend this year and was raised entirely in “one wine barrels” for the first time. The nose offers up a youthful blend of black cherries, tobacco leaf, espresso, a touch of fresh herbs, cigar ash, a fine base of soil and a touch of new wood. On the palate the wine is deep, focused and full-bodied, with a tightly-knit and youthful personality, a good core and fine length and grip on the well-balanced and moderately tannic finish. This is built for the cellar and will be very good with sufficient time in the bottle. Serious merlot for grownups.”
2013 Calluna Vineyard “The Colonel’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon
“The Colonel’s Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Calluna Vineyard is a fine bottle in the making, but it is more marked by its new oak than any of these other 2013s. This is the only wine that is barrel-fermented by David Jeffrey, with all of the casks new for the fermentation and then half of the wine racked off into older casks for its elevage, so that the final proportion of new wood is fifty percent for the wine. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a deep and pure blend of cassis, espresso, cigar smoke, a touch of tariness and smoky new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite a bit denser in style than the other 2013s from this fine estate, with firm, chewy tannins, good focus and grip and a long, youthful and still very primary finish. Like all of David’s wines, this is very well-made, but after the supreme elegance of the Calluna Estate 2013, this wine comes off as a bit blunt in style from its barrel fermentation. It is well balanced and I am sure that it will age well, but will it ever attain the same breed and complexity as the rest of these stellar 2013s from Calluna Vineyards?”
2013 Calluna Vineyards “Calluna Estate”
“The Calluna Estate bottling from David Jeffrey is always one of his top wines, and this year’s version is comprised of a blend of forty-nine percent cabernet sauvignon, twenty-seven percent merlot, fourteen percent cabernet franc, eight percent malbec and two percent petit verdot. The 2013 was raised in fifty percent new casks and came in at 14.1 percent alcohol. The wine delivers an excellent and very refined bouquet of black cherries, sweet cassis, Cuban cigars, a fine base of soil, French roast, just a touch of fresh herbs and a suave base of nutty new oak. On the palate the wine is pure, focused and full-bodied, with a fine core of fruit, impeccable focus and balance, ripe tannins and great backend grip and energy on the long and still youthful finish. This will be beautifully complex and supremely elegant with sufficient bottle age and reminds me more than a bit of the 1985 Mouton when it was young. Great juice.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
2013 Calluna Vineyards Proprietary Red CVC – “The 2013 Proprietary Red CVC performs much like the Estate 2012 and 2013. It is younger, fresher, denser and with more upside potential, but is more closed. Nevertheless it is incredibly promising, shows a dense ruby/purple color, loads of cassis and black cherry fruit with some floral notes. This is a beauty to drink over the next 10-15 years, but I’d give this particular wine another 2-3 years of bottle age.”
2012 Calluna Vineyards Proprietary Red CVC – “The 2012 Proprietary Red CVC is a blend of 36% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and the rest equal parts Petit Verdot and Malbec. More chocolate and mocha appear in this wine, which has a similar color to its predecessors. With a nice, fleshy, opulent mouthfeel, impressive purity, texture and length, the wine seems showy and expressive already and promises to age nicely for 10-15 more years.”
2012 Calluna Vineyards Proprietary Red Calluna Estate – “The 2012 Proprietary Red Estate from Chalk Hill is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec. An elegant and beautiful wine with a deep ruby/purple color, Bordeaux-like minerality, crème de cassis, licorice, earth and spice. The tannins are sweet, the wine medium to full-bodied, complex and supple. This is a beauty that should drink well for 15-20 years. Impressive.”
2013 Calluna Vineyards Proprietary Red Calluna Estate – “The 2013 Proprietary Red Estate is a slightly different blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec. Younger, even deeper and richer than the 2012 and less evolved, but still super impressive, this wine has a dense ruby/purple color, a beautiful crème de cassis nose of floral notes and nicely restrained oak. The wine is full-bodied, beautifully pure and shows seamless integration of all component parts. This is impressive wine made very much in an elegant French style, but with the California purity and ripeness of fruit well displayed. Drink it over the next 20 years.”
2013 Calluna Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Colonel’s Vineyard – “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Colonel’s Vineyard has possibly an even more opaque, saturated purple color. It is young, vibrant and youthful, with plenty of floral notes, blueberry and blackberry fruit, well-integrated oak and a hint of underlying minerality. This is a full-bodied, promising, connoisseur’s Cabernet Sauvignon to forget for 4-5 years and drink over the following three decades. It is a big-time winner, but patience is required.”
2012 Calluna Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Colonel’s Vineyard – “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Colonel’s Vineyard comes from a 1.25-acre parcel that is considered to have enormous potential in the Chalk Hill AVA. It is an homage cuvée dedicated to U.S. Army Col. James S. Boyle who, along with his wife Peg, was instrumental in founding Calluna Vineyards. Deep ruby/purple with abundant quantities of crème de cassis, blackberry fruit, camphor and licorice, the wine is full-bodied, shows sweet tannin, stunning concentration and a long, long finish. This is a beauty and a great effort from the Chalk Hill appellation. It should drink well for 25-30+ years.”
Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Wineries
Year’s Best Cabernet Blends
We are proud and honored to have been selected by Wine & Spirits Magazine as one of their Top 100 Wineries of 2015.
View from the Cellar, John Gilman
2012 Calluna Vineyards “aux Raynauds” Merlot – “David Jeffrey makes really high class merlot, with his 2012 bottling including five percent cabernet franc in this vintage. The winery’s merlot parcel is planted at the top of their hillside vineyard, where there is a high clay content in the soil, which perfectly suits this variety. This is nice and cool in personality in 2012 (like the stellar 2011 version), coming in at 13.4 percent alcohol and offering up a really fine, complex bouquet of black cherries, cassis, cigar smoke, a lovely base of soil tones, a touch of currant leaf and a discreet base of new wood. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, complex and very elegant, with a lovely core, superb soil signature, ripe tannins and fine length and grip on the focused, refined and very classy finish. This wine retails for $40 per bottle, which makes it awfully hard to rationalize shopping for Pomerol at today’s prices! Clearly, David Jeffrey is now one of California’s absolute masters when it comes to merlot!”
2012 Calluna Vineyards “CVC” – The 2012 Calluna Vineyards Cuvée is a Bordeaux-styled blend of thirty-six percent merlot, twenty-four percent cabernet sauvignon, twenty percent cabernet franc and ten percent petit verdot. The wine comes in at a reasonable 14.2 percent alcohol and offers up a complex and classy bouquet of cassis, black cherries, tobacco leaf, a touch of menthol, dark soil tones and a judicious framing of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very suave on the attack, with a fine core, moderate tannins and fine length and grip on the well-balanced finish. To my palate, there is just a touch of heat hovering on the backend today, but it is quite minor, and the wine is built to age very nicely.”
2012 Calluna Vineyards “Calluna Estate” – “The Calluna Estate bottling from David Jeffrey is always a barrel selection in the cellar, with the finest casks of each of the five varietals grown on the estate blended together to produce this wine. The 2012 version is 14.2 percent alcohol and has a cépages of fifty-nine percent cabernet sauvignon, twenty-five percent merlot, seven percent cabernet franc, five percent petit verdot and four percent malbec. It is a half point higher in octane than the stunning 2011, and is an absolutely superb follow-up to that wine, as it offers up a deep, complex and very elegant nose of cassis, black cherries, espresso, dark soil tones, cigar wrapper, gently spicy oak and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and a bit more generous on the attack than the classically structured 2011 version, with lovely focus and balance, a fine core of fruit, ripe, well-integrated tannins and excellent grip on the long and very classy finish. This is really an excellent young wine, with the structure to demand a good eight to ten years in the cellar to really blossom and the potential to age gracefully for thirty-plus years. At its slightly higher octane level, and cannot quite match the precision of the 2011, nor the wonderful red fruity tones, but it is a wonderful wine in its own right.”
2012 Calluna Vineyard “The Colonel’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon – The 2012 “The Colonel’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon from David Jeffrey’s Calluna Vineyard is quite a bit riper than the classically “cool” 2011, which came in at 13.2 percent alcohol. The 2012 version is a more typical 14.4 percent, but is quite cool in the mouth and will not disappoint fans of this excellent estate. The youthfully complex bouquet is a black fruity blend of dark berries, black cherries, cigar smoke, a fine base of dark soil tones, graphite, a discreet framing of new wood and a lovely, spicy topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied and beautifully balanced, with a fine core, lovely, nascent complexity, fine-grained tannins and excellent length and grip on the pure and youthful finish. This is another really refined example of Chalk Hill cabernet sauvignon and a fine follow-up to the excellent 2011 produced here.”
Wine & Spirits Magazine
2012 Chalk Hill Calluna Vineyards Cuvée – “David Jeffrey’s estate, in the hills east of the Russian River Valley, tends to give a cool, taut expression of the Bordelaise grapes, thanks to maritime influence and the vineyard’s sandstone and shale-based soils. This merlot-based blend includes cabernet sauvignon, franc, petit verdot and malbec; in 2012, the wine’s flavors are vigorous and cohesive, with hints of black plum and mint, though the overall impression is primarily mineral, the refreshing glints of fruit completely tied to the structure. It evolves slowly over several days of air, barely loosening, suggesting that it will reward a long stay in the cellar.”
Wine & Spirits Magazine
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon “The Colonel’s Vineyard” – “David Jeffrey’s Chalk Hill estate, while young, is already building an impressive track record for balanced, classically structured cabernet. His vines grow on hillsides exposed to a cooling maritime influence via the nearby Russian River Valley and he considers the Colonel’s Vineyard his best block. It’s 1.25 acres of cabernet on a gentle southwest slope that faces directly into the valley below, with less clay than other parts of the property; the underlying geology is mostly fractured shale and sandstone. A product of a cool year in an already cool spot for cabernet, this is austere in the best sense: a restrained cabernet with an enticing aroma of violets leading into a stony texture, more subterranean in feel than directly fruity. It has the clean, cool energy of spring water running over gravel in an underground cavern. With several days of air, it maintains its impeccable freshness while growing more supple, the tannins slowly relaxing. Decant this if you drink it in the next few years, or open it in ten as a truly exceptional, mature Sonoma cabernet.”
View from the Cellar, John Gilman
2011 Calluna Vineyards Cuvée (CVC) – “The 2011 Calluna Vineyard Cuvée is comprised of a blend of 40% merlot, 19% cabernet franc, 17% cabernet sauvignon, 13% petit verdot and 11% malbec. The wine is a bit riper than I would have expected from the cool vintage of 2011, as the wine comes in at an even fourteen percent alcohol. The bouquet is deep, pure and beautifully refined, offering up scents of red and black cherries, a touch of eucalyptus, cigar smoke, a touch of cocoa powder, tobacco leaf and a bit of lead pencil. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very elegant on the attack, with an excellent core of fruit, fine focus and balance, ripe, beautifully integrated tannins and lovely length and grip on the classy finish. This is young and needs four or five years in the cellar to start to blossom, but it is a very classy, old school wine that should age marvelously and offer up great complexity once it blossoms.”
2011 Calluna Vineyards “aux Raynauds” Merlot – “David Jeffrey has fashioned a simply excellent merlot in the 2011 vintage, with the wine
coming in at 13.5 percent alcohol and including 15% cabernet franc in the cépages. The bouquet is deep, pure and very Pomerol-like (La Conseillante-like?) in its aromatic constellation of black cherries, a bit of black raspberry, fresh herb tones, tobacco leaf, a beautiful base of soil tones, a touch of balsam bough and a very discreet base of new wood. On the palate the wine is medium-full, focused and utterly refined, with a superb core, excellent youthful structure, impeccable balance and a very long, moderately tannic and very complex finish. This is structured like a young 1985 Bordeaux, with youthful complexity coupled to classic structural reticence, and this exemplary Sonoma merlot really deserves at least four or five years of bottle age to start to blossom. It will age long and gracefully and is one of the best examples of this varietal that I have tasted in ages!”
2011 Calluna Vineyard “The Colonel’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon – “The 2011 “The Colonel’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon from David Jeffrey’s Calluna Vineyard is composed entirely of cabernet and tips the scales at a very old-fashioned (and amazingly satisfying) 13.2 percent alcohol. The wine soars from the glass in a magical bouquet of black cherries, cassis, a hint of mint, cigar wrapper, lovely floral tones, a superb base of soil and a very discreet framing of spicy new wood. On the palate the wine is simply stunning, with its full-bodied format utterly refined and balanced, ripe tannins perking up the long finish, nascent complexity readily in evidence and stellar focus and grip on the pure, youthful and utterly sophisticated finish. When I was in Napa and Sonoma in September of 2011, I was hoping that the cool growing season might produce wines of this great quality and structural integrity, and it is great to see that David Jeffrey, unlike some of his cabernet sauvignon-centric colleagues in Napa Valley, seized the opportunity that 2011 presented and has made a brilliant wine for long-term cellaring. This does not have any of the lazy plumpness of modern, “blockbuster” cabernet, but it does have great depth, intensity and purity and is going to be an absolute cellar treasure in the fullness of time!”
2011 Calluna Estate – “The Calluna Estate bottling from David Jeffrey is his flagship wine, and in 2011 the wine is comprised of a blend of 44% cabernet sauvignon, 26% percent merlot, 19% cabernet franc, 7% petit verdot and 4% malbec. The wine is a vineyard selection of the best raw materials of a given year, and in 2011, the wine comes in at 13.7 percent alcohol. The bouquet is simply stunning, wafting from the glass in a superb mélange of cherries, red plums, Cuban cigar wrapper, woodsmoke, gentle herb tones, a superb signature of soil, allspice and a nice base of elegant new oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and supremely elegant, with a great core of sweet fruit, strikingly soil-driven and perfectly balanced, with firm, ripe and integrated tannins, laser-like focus and a very, very long, refined and complex finish. Sheer brilliance!”
International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer
2011 Calluna Vineyards Cuvée (CVC) – “(a blend of 40% merlot, 19% cabernet franc, 17% cabernet sauvignon, 11% malbec and 13% petit verdot; aged in 25% new French oak): Bright, full red. Currant, plum, leather, mocha and tobacco leaf on the nose, accented by licorice and dried flowers. Attractive high pitch to the flavors of blackberry, violet and mint lifted by pepper and herbs. A touch tart but finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and good clarity and energy. This wine has the personality to give early pleasure.”
2011 Merlot “Aux Raynauds” – “Bright dark red. Red plum, cherry, tobacco leaf and musky nuances of truffle and coffee bean on the nose, plus a whiff of smoky flint. Deeper and riper than the CVC blend, offering supple, perfumed flavors of raspberry, spicy wild herbs and truffley underbrush. Boasts very good density and lift for the vintage. The substantial dusty tannins show a bit more oak influence than the CVC as well as enticing lingering perfume. This will need two or three years of patience. This is owner/winemaker David Jeffrey’s homage to Dr. Alain and Francoise Raynaud, with whom he spent several months in 2003 before launching his California project, with the objective of making Bordeaux-style wines without stewy, pruney flavors or excessive greenness. The 2011 vintage, though tricky, has played to Jeffrey’s strengths.”
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon The Colonel’s Vineyard – “Bright, full red. High-toned aromas of cassis, licorice, violet and tobacco leaf, plus some vintage-typical notes of pepper and herbs. Classically dry and juicy on the palate, with lovely floral intensity and definition to the high-pitched dark berry, violet and mint flavors. Slightly herbal and medicinal in an Old World way. This very animated, youthful wine finishes with a serious spine of palate-coating tannins. I would not be surprised if it merited a higher score four or five years down the road. ”
90(+) points – Fall 2014 Release
2011 Calluna Estate – “(44% cabernet sauvignon, 26% merlot, 19% cabernet franc, 7% petit verdot and 4% malbec; aged in 40% new oak; made from the best lots): Bright deep red. The most complex and least herbal of these 2011s today, offering scents of plum, black raspberry, woodsmoke, coffee and black tea. Silky and penetrating on entry; not a fleshpot but boasts terrific sappy intensity and backbone to its flavors of cranberry, cherry, licorice and minerals. Little evidence of a difficult year; on the contrary, this is supple and sweet, finishing with firm but suave tannins and lingering red fruits.”
92 points – Fall 2014 Release
Wine & Spirits Magazine
2010 Calluna Estate – “His (David Jeffrey) 12 acres of young vines have already produced some exceptional blends, and this is the best we’ve tasted yet. It’s a dark, savory Cabernet, carrying Sonoma’s lavender and bay scents as well as black cherries and tobacco. The tight, mineral line of the tannins show a serious intent, without in any way diminishing the joy of drinking it with lamb.”
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
2010 Calluna Estate – This blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec from the relatively new Chalk Hill AVA is a winner. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by aromas of floral-infused black currants and black cherries intermixed with hints of graphite and wet rocks. Medium to full-bodied and elegant yet authoritatively flavored, it builds incrementally on the palate. This classic proprietary red wine should age nicely for 10-15 years. It demonstrates what heights an intelligent Bordeaux blend can achieve in this AVA.
2010 Calluna Estate – “Bordeaux-like with its sturdy frame and aromatics of cedary oak, with notes of dried dark berry, spice, dusty chalk and black licorice. Gains depth and nuance through the finish, showing an intriguing complexity. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2024. 380 cases made. –JL”
John Gilman – View from the Cellar
Over in Sonoma, Calluna Vineyards’ 2010s certainly demonstrate that it remains possible to make low octane, stunning cabernet-based wines these days and one does not have to be part of the Woodstock Generation to have learned how to make great, restrained and ageworthy cabernet-based wines in California.
2010 Calluna Vineyards “Calluna Vineyard Cuvée” (Chalk Hill)
The 2010 Calluna Vineyard Cuvée is comprised of a blend of forty-four percent merlot, thirty-six percent cabernet sauvignon, nine percent cabernet franc, six percent malbec and five percent petit verdot and comes in at a cool and classy 14.1 percent alcohol. The 2010 was raised in forty percent new wood. The wine is really quite lovely, showing a very complex, “cool fruit” nose of cassis, black cherries, tobacco leaf, lovely soil tones, a touch of violet and a very judicious base of new wood. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and nicely structured, with a fine core of fruit, impeccable focus and balance, fine-grained, but fairly substantial tannins and excellent length and grip on the young and very classy finish. This is going to be a terrific wine and should age very gracefully indeed. Impressive juice for the cellar! 2020-2050.
2010 Calluna Vineyards “aux Raynauds” Merlot (Chalk Hill)
Calluna Vineyards is a relatively new project started by proprietor and winemaker David Jeffrey, and his 2010 “aux Raynauds” Merlot is quite a lovely example of just how serious this varietal can be in the right hands. This is a blend of eighty-three percent merlot and seventeen percent cabernet franc. David spent some time working on the Right Bank in Bordeaux prior to starting Calluna Vineyards and these sensibilities show here in the lovey nose of cherries, raspberries, cocoa, a touch of fresh herbs and tobacco and spicy new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and nicely light on its feet (reflecting is very measured 14.2 percent alcohol), with a good core, lovely focus and a fair bit of tannin to resolve on the long, nascently complex and classy finish. This is a grown-up’s bottle of merlot that will need some time in the cellar to blossom, but it is quite well-balanced and should be lovely with five or six years of bottle age. These are still young vines (having only been planted in 2005), and though the wine was raised in only twenty-five percent new wood, it might be a candidate for the next few vintages for all used barrels for the elevage. Good juice. 2018-2035.
2010 Calluna Vineyards “The Colonel’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon (Chalk Hill)
The Colonel’s Vineyard block of cabernet at Calluna Vineyards is located at the top of this Chalk Hill property and benefits from the cooler microclimate found in this corner of Sonoma. Though the vines are still young (having been planted in 2005), David Jeffrey has obviously done a fine job in restraining their vigor and has produced a wine with plenty of depth and intensity in the very elegant and adult style of Calluna’s wines. The bouquet on the 2010 Colonel’s Vineyard cabernet is a superb blend of black cherries, sweet cassis, tobacco smoke, gentle herb tones, a superb base of soil and a fairly generous dose of well-done new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very svelte, with a lovely core of fruit, excellent focus and balance, plenty of ripe, youthful tannins and excellent length and grip on the classy and soil-driven finish. This is a chewy young wine that will need plenty of bottle age to allow the tannins to fall away, but its inherent elegance are already very much in evidence and this will be a lovely wine in the fullness of time. Like the estate’s merlot, I would love to see even less new wood used here, as the vines are still young and it seems to me that even more terroir would show here with less new wood and there is no good reason not to re-use the barrels that this wine was raised in for a few more years! This is very fine juice that reminds me stylistically very much of the beautiful wines of Cathy Corison, with the differences of terroir between the Rutherford Bench and Chalk Hill of course, very much in evidence. A lovely young wine. 2021-2050.
2010 Calluna Estate (Chalk Hill)
The Calluna Estate bottling is the flagship wine from Calluna Vineyards, with the 2010 version made up of a blend of fifty-three percent cabernet sauvignon, twenty percent merlot, seventeen percent cabernet franc, eight percent petit verdot and two percent malbec. It was raised in a bit more new wood than the Calluna Vineyard Cuvée in this vintage, with sixty percent of the barrels new and the wine is just a touch riper at 14.3 percent alcohol. The 2010 Calluna Estate delivers and excellent nose of cassis, black cherries, cigar smoke, a fine base of dark soil tones, espresso, a bit of lead pencil and a judicious framing of cedary new wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and seamless, with a young and very classy personality, a fine core of fruit, firm, well integrated tannins and excellent length and grip on the bright and still very primary finish. I love the sense of inherent balance and restraint on this young, elegant and very complex wine, and it should be a cellar treasure in the fullness of time. This is a very high class bottle of Bordeaux-inspired Sonoma red wine that will need at least another decade to really start to come into its own, but which should firmly cement the reputation of Calluna Estate as one of the brightest new producers in the firmament of California wine. Fine, fine juice! 2023-2050+.
International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer
2010 Calluna Vineyards Cuvée (CVC) – “Medium-deep bright red. Nuanced, inviting nose offers scents of cherry, redcurrant, tobacco, loam and mocha, lifted by subtle pepper and floral notes. Silky on entry, then sharply delineated and youthfully tight in the middle, with excellent energy to the redcurrant, cherry and fresh herb flavors. This will need time to unwind but it’s nonetheless the most showy of these 2010 releases today. Finishes with building tannins and excellent length.”
2010 Merlot “Aux Raynauds” – “(blended with 17% cabernet franc): Bright red-ruby. Sexy nose offers dark cherry, black raspberry, spices, mocha and licorice, plus a distinct mineral component. Silky, intense and concentrated, with superb energy to the sappy but youthfully imploded cherry and raspberry flavors. Offers terrific thrust and definition–and an impression of medicinal reserve–but this very tight wine is tough going today. Very serious merlot with the acid/tannin spine to reward aging.”
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon The Colonel’s Vineyard – “Full, bright ruby. Medicinal cassis, licorice, herbs and bitter chocolate on the nose: very cabernet sauvignon! At once plush and dry, with dark berry, bitter chocolate and herb flavors in the deep background today. The most uncompromising of these wines, distinctly tight, minerally and unyielding and in a distinctly cool style. With its tough tannic spine and firm acidity, this very backward wine shows little in the way of sweetness.”
2010 Calluna Estate – “(53% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 17% cabernet franc, 8% petit verdot and 2% malbec): Bright ruby-red. Sexy, nuanced nose combines cherry, cedar, mocha and spices. Densely packed and intense, with sharp definition to the vibrant flavors of black cherry, licorice and graphite minerality. The deepest and sweetest of these 2010s today but still youthfully clenched. Finishes quite long, with a subtle sweetness and strong tannins that coat the front teeth. As with all of these 2010s, I’d expect this wine to merit a higher score three to five years from now.”
2009 Calluna Estate – Exhibits a tight, complex mix of cedar, dried currant and crushed rock flavors, ending with firm tannins. The aromas are pure and enticing.