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Calluna Chalk Hill Calluna Vineyards Cuvee 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Chalk Hill, Sonoma County, California
  • W&S95
  • RP91
14.2% ABV
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

We make wine exclusively from the five red Bordeaux varietals which were planted on these hillsides beginning in 2004. The Calluna Vineyards Cuvée is an expression of this land. It is a blend that expresses the power of Cabernet Sauvignon, elegance of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and a bit of showiness from Malbec and Petit Verdot.

The 2012 Calluna Vineyards Cuvée has all the elements of an exceptional wine: depth of fruit, bright acidity, chalky but not astringent tannins, moderate alcohol, and a long balanced finish. Enjoy this wine now or let it age over 10 years or more.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 95
Wine & Spirits
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.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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.
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Calluna, Chalk Hill, Sonoma County, California
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Many years ago, it became my goal to make a wine that could stand on the table with the greatest wines of the world. I felt the only way to accomplish this was to fully immerse myself in this endeavor. I would only pursue this goal if I could plant the vineyard, live with the vines and make the wine myself.

That meant initially spending years in enology school and learning from those who were already successful. After many years of visiting wine regions and tasting wines from around the world, our adventure truly began in 2001 when my family and I left the East coast for Fresno, California where I attended Fresno State’s top Viticulture and Enology school. As a capstone to my three year program, I worked in Bordeaux for the 2003 harvest with Dr. Alain Raynaud at Chateau Quinault l’Enclos. My stated goal in Bordeaux was to go beyond being a cellar worker and closely examine every facet of Bordeaux vineyards and winemaking. Working with Dr. Raynaud was both a revelation and an inspiration.

The journey to Calluna has taken me around the world and led my family to this hilltop in the middle of Sonoma County. It’s here that we staked out our vineyard from bare land, raised our kids and began making the wines we’re proud to share with you today. — David A. Jeffrey, Winemaker

Chalk Hill

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A Sonoma sub-appellation whose boundaries cover the northeastern corner of the Russian River Valley AVA, the Chalk Hill growing area is named after its unique chalky and white, volcanic ash soils. This terrain has proven successful with white varieties, namely Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

GCWCVCVC12_2012 Item# 144480