A recent visit with Jeffrey and Ellie Patterson at Mount Eden Vineyards and Domaine Eden offered the opportunity to taste some 2011 wines out of barrel and also to spend an evening at Manresa in Los Gatos celebrating Ellie’s 60th birthday. (Manresa is a great restaurant under the direction of Chef-Proprietor David Kinch. I took a 1952 Burgundy to celebrate Ellie’s birthday. The menu and a few notes appear at the end of this article). Although most of the 2011 wines are not yet blended, the ones tasted show great promise. Mount Eden Vineyards is, of course, a known quantity as one of the best and most consistent producers of great Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir in California. But, also not to be missed is the impressive potential of the Domaine Eden wines. Jeffrey is doing a great job in the vineyards and in the cellar with this newly acquired property (the former Cinnabar Vineyards) which is located just a short distance from Mount Eden in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
My notes on a few wines tasted from barrel and notes on the fall wine releases follow (to read more about the history of Mount Eden Vineyards and Domaine Eden as well as notes on many of their wines click here ).
MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS
2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled Santa Cruz Mountains.
There were two different harvests of this wine in 2011. The first was very dark in color but subdued. It was structured and flavorful with noticeable tannin. The second had a very dark color and a great complex perfume with hints of violets. It was structured with lots of fruit and firm underlying tannin. The two blended should make a classic Mt Eden Cabernet Sauvignon that will require aging.
2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled Santa CruzMountains.
In 2011 the Pinot Noir grapes at Mt Eden were picked in late September and the crop was 40% of normal. The wine has a deep color and a lovely perfume with very pure fruit, lots of flavor, and very nice balance and structure. This should make a very fine bottle – Outstanding Potential.
Fall 2012 Releases
2008 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled Santa Cruz Mountains.
This vintage produced 15,060 bottles. This is a classic Mount Eden Cabernet. It will age effortlessly for 20 or more years, Dark in color the wine has a deep perfume of plum,berry, and cassis fruit accented by hints of spice and cedar with a faint mint quality. Loaded with fruit this Cabernet has richness and depth and a firm underlying structure. The tannin is well integrated and the length on the palate is impressive – Outstanding Plus $55
2008 MountEden Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve Estate Bottled Santa Cruz Mountains. The first Reserve Chardonnay bottling was the 2007. The Reserve Chardonnays are aged for an additional 10 months on the yeast sediments. They are made to have more richness and show well very early. There were 3,295 bottles of this 2008 Reserve Chardonnay produced. The wine is light golden in color and has an intense perfume of tropical fruit with spice and citrus notes and a faintly toasty nuance. It is lush, rich, creamy, and round with tropical fruit notes accented by spice and citrus and a lot of intensity. Still it maintains a balance of all the components – Outstanding. $60
2009 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Estate Bottled Santa Cruz Mountains.
This vintage produced 23,616 bottles. Tasted last year I felt that this would be very special (to read that review click here ) Now being released for sale, this is indeed a really gorgeous Chardonnay that will repay aging for a very long period. The color is light yellow gold and the perfume is stunning with hints of citrus and spice accented by floral tropical notes and a hint of peach. The wine has great elegance and balance. It is silky yet with a nice underlying crispness. The flavors are beautifully integrated with faint hints of citrus, spice, and peach accented by floral tropical notes – Outstanding Plus. $55
2010 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled Santa Cruz Mountains.
There were 9,850 bottles of this wine made in 2010. Tasted last year from barrel I thought this 2010 Pinot Noir would be a winner (to read that review click here ) Just now being released for sale, this is a Pinot Noir of great elegance and purity yet with the underlying structure and depth to merit cellaring for a very long time. There is a deep color with a faint tinge of amber at the edge and the wine shows a gorgeous floral perfume with hints of berries and spice. It is silky and refined, yet with great intensity of flavor that shows a myriad of fruits accented by floral spice nuances. This 2010 is a classic example of the “iron fist in a velvet glove” and a great Mount Eden Pinot Noir. It is simply gorgeous and a must buy – Extraordinary. $60
2011 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains
Here I tasted 2 components of the wine. One was from vines planted in 1984. It had a very dark color and lots of fruit with firm structure and balanced tannin. The other was also very dark with color with a great perfume and lots of fruit showing firm underlying tannin. The two will be blended and Merlot and Cabernet Franc added before bottling. This could be very special and is one to look for couple of years down the line.
2011 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains
I tasted 5 different samples made from different clones. First was Mt Eden clone 37 (made from original Mt Eden budwood cleaned up and rid of viruses) that was planted at Domaine Eden in 2000. This showed a deep color and lovely perfume and concentration. Next was a Calera clone that showed a lot of fruit and depth with wonderful balance. Dijon clone 777 once again had richness and depth with lots of fruit. Dijon clone A28 was a bit lighter, but with nice fruit and elegance. The Swan clone was tasted last and had great richness and loads of fruit with lovely balance. These clones are all planted in the same type of soil in vineyards with similar exposure. They all showed a lot of potential and I would expect that the resulting wine once blended and bottled should be one to buy.
Fall 2012 Releases
2008 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains.
This vintage produced 30,201 bottles. The wine is dark in color and there is a deep berry perfume with hints of spice and cedar and a faint underlying floral note. There is nice cedar tinged fruit on the palate and the wine is well structured with a firm underlying tannin that will need some time to resolve – Highly Recommended. $35
2009 Domaine Eden Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains.
There were 36,300 bottles of this wine made in 2009. It is light golden yellow in color with a deep floral perfume showing hints of vanilla, spice, and citrus with a touch of pineapple. It is rounded and supple with floral flavors showing hints of vanilla, spice, and citrus. This is a Chardonnay with early appeal – Highly Recommended. $28
2010 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains.
This cool vintage produced 18,850 bottles. Tasted earlier this year (to see that review click here ). The wine was lovely, but has improved significantly with a bit more time in the bottle. I think this is an indication of what we can expect from the Pinot Noirs from this domaine going forward. The various different 2011 Pinot Noirs reviewed earlier also give credence to this opinion. So I would say that now is the time to get acquainted with the Domaine Eden Pinot Noir while it is still under the radar.
This 2010 has a very nice color and a lovely perfume of berries and cherries with a faint underlying floral nuance. The wine is soft and rounded with lovely fruit showing floral spice nuances and a very faint hint of green olive. This is a beautifully balanced Pinot Noir that is lovely to drink now, although it should age effortlessly for many years. This is one to buy for sure – Outstanding. $35 Best Buy
Mount Eden Vineyards is one of California’s greatest historic wineries. The wines are consistently superb. They are balanced and age beautifully. I have a lot of them in my cellar going back into the 1970s and drink and write about them regularly. In March for my birthday, we drank a 1987 and a 1997 Mount Eden Chardonnay. The 1997 is the 25th anniversary bottling. It is gorgeous, lush and rounded with apricot and citrus notes and a long lingering finish. The 1987 is more advanced. It is complex, lush and rounded with hints of crème brûlée. The Domaine Eden wines are new, but are showing their heritage and breed. I encourage you to seek out the Mount Eden Vineyard wines and the Domaine Eden wines in your favorite retail stores, restaurants, and direct from the winery where you can join their wine club to receive automatic shipments twice a year (to go to the website and the wine club Eden enthusiasts click here ).
ELLIE PATTERSON’S 60TH BIRTHDAY
The food this evening was creative and delicious. A few of the real standout dishes for me were the “Garden beignets and crispy leaves”; Strawberry gazpacho with coriander ice”; Amberjack, sashimi style, olive oil and radishes; Roasted eggplant, dried tuna and black tea; Sea bream almond and orange, fennel jam; Chicken and egg confit, green shallot and morels; Lamb roasted with savory, cucumber and blueberries; and Black sesame and strawberry, fennel with lime.”
To say that this is a “cutting edge” restaurant that really delivers is an understatement. If you are in the area and have not experienced the food of David Kinch you are in for a real treat (to visit the website click here )
We also had a number of very nice wines from the wine list. The most impressive for me was the gorgeous 1994 Kalin Chardonnay.
1994 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvée LD SonomaCounty.
Light golden yellow in color this Chardonnay has an amazing deep and complex perfume of lemon lime, fresh herbs, and hints of honey and hazelnuts. It has great balance and intensity with hints of lemon lime and a honeyed hazelnut nuance. With a long crisp finish this is a really delicious Chardonnay just hitting its stride at nearly 20 years of age – Outstanding Plus.
Then there was the 1952 Chambertin from Trapet that I brought from my cellar. I acquired this wine in the 1970s. It is wines like this that are the reason why you need to have a wine cellar and one that is properly done (to read the Underground article on proper wine storage click here ).
This bottle that I brought from my cellar in honor of Ellie’s birthday showed beautifully. Jeffrey and Ellie were amazed that there were any really good Burgundies from 1952, but not me. I have drunk many terrific 1952s over the years including other bottles of the Chambertin that I bought. I took the wine directly from my 48 degree cellar and packed it in a Styrofoam case and wedged it between the front and back seat of the car. What I forgot about was the 2 ½ mile ride up a windy and ruddy dirt road getting to the winery and then the ride back down to the restaurant. But, amazingly the wine arrived at the restaurant in perfect condition as the following note will attest.
1952 Domaine Louis Trapet Chambertin.
Lovely pale ruby color with a faint amber hue this Chambertin has a gorgeous perfume of dried rose petals, dried leaves and subtle hints of spice. It is round, soft, and very elegant with gorgeous flavors that have hints of rose petals and a whiff of cherries tinged with spice and a faint forest like undertone. And on the finish there is a brightness and a long lingering aftertaste – Exceptional.