From the Wine Shop
Calluna Vineyards, 'CVC Cuvée' Bordeaux Blend, Chalk Hill AVA Sonoma County, California 2018 (750mL)
Chalk Hill AVA. You may have heard it in passing, but most probably aren’t familiar with this hidden gem of an appellation. Calluna’s picturesque vineyards, perched on the western side of the Mayacamas, have the highest elevation in the AVA, which results in excellent sun exposure, minimal frost, cooler overall temperatures, and acid retention for a balance that is closer to Bordeaux than the valleys of Sonoma and Napa.
Before David Jeffrey founded Calluna Estate in this unique appellation, he obtained a degree in enology and viticulture from Fresno State then set out to learn at the hands of one of Bordeaux’s masters. He studied under Dr. Alain Raynaud at Chateau Quinault l’Enclos and returned to the States with a vision to craft true Bordelaise style wines in a cooler locale than his neighbors. As an interesting side note, the owners of Château Cheval Blanc and Château d’Yquem bought land next door—clearly, Jeffrey is on to something. Today, Calluna’s wines are expertly crafted with balance and sense of place as a top priority, and the result is an undeniably pleasurable bottle of wine; Old World elegance with a Californian accent. This has not gone unnoticed by the critics: Calluna’s praise reaches far and wide, and the demand for their exquisitely built reds keep rising with each year.
Although many producers in Napa and Sonoma craft wines from Bordeaux varieties, the majority shoot for longer hang time and jammy fruit, aging their wines in an abundance of new oak, which inevitably masks the varietal purity and voice of terroir. Jeffrey chooses to do things the old-school way—as in Bordeaux—and the critics have come calling with enthusiasm just the same. This long-aged 2018 CVC is predominantly composed of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot rounding out the final quarter of the blend. The hand-harvested fruit is manually sorted and fermented in open-top tanks with a daily pump-over regimen for three weeks. The wine is then aged for 21 months in French oak barrels, 20% new, and is bottled unfiltered.
This 2018 “Calluna Vineyards Cuvée” exhibits an opaque ruby-purple core and spills out a variety of serious, Bordeaux-like aromas: blackcurrant, boysenberry preserves, cacao nibs, leather, black raspberry liqueur, licorice, tobacco, graphite, and beautifully integrated baking spices. The full-bodied, deeply concentrated palate is simultaneously soft and firm, consisting of wonderfully pure dark fruit and “Left Bank” lift. More generous and supple than their flagship bottling, “CVC” is a perfect candidate for drinking over the next several years after a 30-60-minute decant.
- CountryUnited States
- RegionSonoma County, California
- Sub-RegionChalk Hill Appellation
- SoilSandstone & Shale Over Volcanic
- BlendCabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot
- Oak20% New French
- Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
- GlasswareBordeaux Stem
- Decanting30 to 45 Minutes
- PairingHangar Steak with Shallots
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