Layer Cake Sea of Stones Red Blend 2019
The Layer Cake Sea of Stones Red Blend is extremely dense and concentrated. Opaque purple, almost black in color, the aroma is full of ripe black fruit, grilled bread, pencil lead, wet stones, lavender, blueberry pie, and black cherry. On the palate there is layer upon layer of savory fruit, spice notes, espresso, and dark chocolate as well as rich, creamy texture. The aromas and flavors carry on long after the wine is gone from your mouth, the finish taunting you to have another sip.
Layer Cake works directly with the farmers that grow their grapes to exacting standards in some of the most diversely-layered vineyards around the world. They are handpicked, separated and fermented with care, then aged in French Oak. The character of each Layer Cake wine is influenced by the vineyard soil, which is layered like a cake…every layer tells a story.
It all started in South Australia, when they met a few growers, swapped stories over a few pints, then went to walk around some vineyards. The goal became to make great wine from these vineyards, and with diligence, sell the wines at a price that would over-deliver compared to the offerings on the retail shelves, so we were off to the races.
During a visit to Puglia to investigate the flavors behind Carole Meredith’s recent studies showing that Primitivo is indeed identical to Zinfandel, we discovered the largest cache of old-vine Zinfandel grapes in the world, which borthed the Layer Cake Primitivo. Argentina is now known as the best place on the planet to grow Malbec, hands down. Upon meeting numerous fantastic family growers to work with, the Layer Cake Malbec was born.
The newest stamp on the Layer Cake passport is the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Sourced from vineyards in one of the greatest regions of the world for growing Sauv Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, has soil that brings a beautiful flinty brightness to this complex wine.
Layer Cake came back to their homeland, Napa, next and decided it was time to seek out some special vineyards here as well. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were naturals to make here, as we have many friends with excellent vineyards to nurture and turn into Layer Cake Wines.
By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza, divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, is the source of some of the country’s finest wines.
For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec. Originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s, here it found success and renown that it never knew in its homeland where a finicky climate gives mixed results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and sometimes even blended with each other or Malbec). Mendoza's main white varieties include Chardonnay, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.