Moon Mountain Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
Blend: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot
Fermentations were in open-topped tanks where the cap was punched down three times daily until dryness, then followed with an additional maceration of two to seven days before draining the wine off of the skins. The wine is 100 percent free run (the juice that flows freely from the grapes without pressing), meaning the lower quality press wine was not used. Barrel aging was in Moon Mountain's deep caves, which provides a constant temperature of 60ºF and very high humidity. This environment enhances the concentration of lush fruit flavor.
The quality of this vintage was superb, producing a deeply-colored wine with flavors of ripe black cherry, well-integrated spice, rich sweet tannin and a long, lingering finish. This wine has the structure to age gracefully throughout the next decade.
Moon Mountain Vineyard Winery
High in the Mayacamas Mountains on the western side of Mt. Veeder, more than 1,000 feet above the Sonoma Valley, Moon Mountain Vineyard offers some of the most difficult winegrowing conditions in California. The steep south-facing slopes, punctuated by volcanic rock outcroppings, consist of thin, well-drained soils derived from volcanic ash and lava. Situated well above the fog line, the vineyard receives generous sunshine late into the afternoon. This combination of frugal soils and warm, sunny microclimate stresses the vines to produce rich rewards: small crops of superbly concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes.
Organic farming keeps the vines in balance and healthy, while enhancing the grapes' flavors. Harvested at full maturity, the grapes receive meticulous care in the winery, including slow aging in small oak barrels in mountainside caves and careful blending to achieve mouth-filling flavors of black cherry and currant fruit, complemented by subtle spice and toast complexity.
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About Sonoma County
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.