This blockbuster selection comes to us from our very good friends at Sonoma 980. We have purchased dozens of selections from them over the last decade and the response has always been extremely positive. As a result, we are always willing to taste anything they are ready to offer. Winemaker Paul Clifton heads the team at Sonoma 980 with diligence and purpose. His main responsibility is to express the soil, referred to as terroir, of the vineyards that they source their grapes from. In this case, the vineyards offer 30 different types of soil to mix and match from. If it sounds like an imposing challenge, it is.
Paul takes these challenges in stride. He came from an even larger estate at Hahn, which had even more choices. Therefore, Sonoma 980 is a refreshing change. It is important to remember that we are not talking about major differences here. But even minor ones can impact the wine with time in the bottle. It's how all these little things team up to form a cohesive whole that the winemaker must take into consideration. Merlot is the backbone of Bordeaux, where it rises to majestic heights. But in California, it has always played a secondary role to Cabernet Sauvignon, for which it is often confused. Yet, when properly handled like here, it can rise to the same heights as it does in Bordeaux.
Those heights include the seductive ripe plum, vanilla pudding, and blackberries in the nose and on the palate. It then gently morphs into cedar and dark chocolate for an incomparable experience.