Von Strasser Sori Bricco Vineyard Red 2013
Our highest elevation vineyard, this complex wine opens with black pepper, eucalyptus and black currant intertwined with earthy notes of mushroom and cedar. The palate shows a touch of cocoa, espresso and brown sugar complete with a lingering finish of cinnamon. Complete with vibrant tannins, this beauty will lay down for up to 20 years.
Situated on Diamond Mountain in Napa Valley, the Von Strasser estate maintains six separate vineyards. When Rudy and Rita Von Strasser purchased the old Roddis Winery in 1990, the vineyards were planted in two stages. The oldest block, 2 acres in size, was planted in 1970 to budwood from Martha’s Vineyard. The second block, 4 acres in size, was planted in 1983, also with budwood from Martha’s Vineyard. In 1991, the von Strasser’s embarked upon a vineyard modernization, changing the entire vineyard to a high density, vertical trellis system. An acre of Petit Verdot was planted that year with an eye towards its future use in a unique Reserve bottling. In 1998, a new piece of hillside land was cleared and planted to vineyard. Today, the property consists of Cabernet Sauvignon (12 acres), Petit Verdot (2 acres), and Merlot (1 acre).
Diamond Mountain is the northernmost mountain appellation in the Mayacamas Range, on the northwest side of the valley floor, above the town of Calistoga. Defined mainly by elevation, vineyards are planted at 400 to 2,200 feet.
Diamond Mountain vineyards receive plenty of sunshine at these elevations and are typically above the coastal fog line. But given its western proximity, the area still easily cools down from early morning and late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes. The AVA (American Viticultural Area) covers 5,000 acres but just over 500 acres are under vine.
Diamond Mountain soils, mainly weathered, red sedimentary rock and decomposed, volcanic ash, are infertile, quick-draining and produce small, thick-skinned grapes, bursting with chewy tannins.
Like other sub-appellations in Napa Valley, the Diamond Mountain area had no shortage of pioneer winemakers. Rudy von Strasser led the effort for Diamond Mountain to acquire AVA status in 1999.
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.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. 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.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
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 Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
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.