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Calluna Estate Red 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
  • RP93
0% ABV
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  • V92
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Winemaker Notes

As the flagship of the winery, the Calluna Estate is inspired by the defining wines of Bordeaux's Left Bank as it leads with Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot along with Cabernet Franc, and to a lesser extent Malbec and Petit Verdot, assist to round out the blend.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Calluna 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.
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Calluna

Calluna

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Calluna, 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

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Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

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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.

GCWCVEST12_2012 Item# 144481