- The Underground Wine Letter - http://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


Mount Eden house [1]

Mount Eden Vineyards is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Saratoga. It was launched in 1972 on the site of the old Martin Ray Estate which was started in 1945. My first visit to Mount Eden was in the early 1970s. The wines from here are some of the best made in California and I have been tasting, drinking, and writing about them for over 40 years. The wines age beautifully and I have the wines in my cellar back into the 1970s. Jeffery and Ellie Patterson came to Mount Eden in 1981. They are now the majority shareholders with Jeffrey in charge of the winery operations and Ellie in charge of marketing and sales.

Domaine Eden is also located in the Santa Cruz Mountains a short distance (about a mile as the crow flies) from Mount Eden Vineyards. An existing winery and vineyards were sold to Mount Eden Vineyards several years ago and are now known as Domaine Eden. As is the case at Mount Eden, Jeffrey is in charge of winery operations and Ellie in charge of marketing and sales.

The two wineries have a lot in common and the syle of the wines is very similar. The Mount Eden wines have great structure and depth with a long history of aging gracefully. They are wines to buy, drink, and cellar. The Domaine Eden wines come from a different location where there has been considerable replanting and grafting of vines in recent years. Recent vintages have consisted of wines from Domaine Eden blended with declassified wines from Mount Eden. Over time, I expect that the Domaine Eden wines will move even more toward the style of the Mount Eden Vineyards wine. Today the Domaine Eden wines are beautifully crafted and balanced with a lot of early charm. And, they are available at very attractive prices (to read a recent article click here [2] and to read an earlier article with more history and tasting notes on young and old wines click here).

I encourage you to seek out the Mount Eden Vineyards wines and the Domaine Eden wines in your favorite retail stores, restaurants, and direct from the winery (to purchase wines click here). [3]You can also join their wine club, Eden Enthusiasts, to receive automatic shipments twice a year (to join click here [4]).

  DSC07083 [5]

Based on a recent visit to Mount Eden Vineyards, below are notes on a few new releases and a few unreleased wines. Also I tasted a few new releases from the sister winery, Domaine Eden. Later I will taste the 2013s which, based on what I learned from Jeffery and what I know about 2013 wines in the area, I expect will be quite special.

Domaine Eden

2012 Domaine Eden Chardonnay
Production of this wine was about 3,350 cases. It has a light yellow gold color and a lovely floral, tropical, citrus tinged perfume. With very nice fruit the wine is pure and refined showing subtle tropical citrus flavors with floral nuances. This Chardonnay has lots of charm with early appeal and is an excellent value – Highly Recommended Plus.    $28

2012 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir
The Pinot Noir from Domaine Eden seems to be particularly successful. This wine is made from 98% Domaine Eden grapes and 2% declassified Mount Eden Pinot Noir. The production was just over 1800 cases.
With a very nice color the perfume is gorgeous showing floral cherry notes with just a touch of spice. Very elegant and pure the wine has a lot of charm with supple cherry tinged fruit accented by floral spice notes. This is a great value in Pinot Noir that is harmonious and balanced – Outstanding.    $35

2010 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon
This is a beautifully balanced Cabernet Sauvignon that drinks well now, but will benefit from a few years of bottle age. Dark in color the wine has a deep perfume of plums with hints of spice and cedar. Loaded with plummy berry fruit, the wine is supple and rounded with soft underlying tannins and has depth and richness – Highly Recommended Plus.    $35

Mount Eden Vineyards

2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay
In this cool vintage, quantities were quite small with 1,692 cases produced. It is a classic Mount Eden Chardonnay. Light yellow gold in color the wine has a stunning perfume that is very faintly honeyed with citrus and peach nuances and a kiss of floral spice. It is rich and rounded, yet there is a crisp underlying structure. A myriad of flavors show citrus with a bit of spice and floral faintly honeyed nuances. The finish is very long and the wine is destined for a long life ahead.   – Extraordinary.     $60

2010 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve
The Reserve Chardonnays receive an additional 10 months aging on the lees. This bottling produced 252 cases and there was no 2011 Reserve because of the short crop. It is the richest young Mount Eden Chardonnay that I can ever recall tasting. Scheduled for release some time next year, it will be interesting to watch the wine’s evolution over time. Light yellow gold in color the perfume shows honeyed spice with tinges of citrus and pineapple. It is rich and supple with great intensity of fruit accented by honeyed spice and impressive length on the palate – Outstanding Plus.

2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir production was down about 40% in 2011 and the vintage was characterized by a long growing season. The production of this wine was only 375 cases. With a deep color, the wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with hints of red fruits and a faint spice accent. It is very pure, elegant, and refined with lovely spice tinged fruit and lots of flavor. Beautifully balanced, this is a Pinot Noir that should enjoy and great evolution and a very long life – Outstanding Plus.    $70

2012 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir
The 2012 vintage produced significantly more than 2011. The production of this wine totaled just under 1,300 cases. With a very nice color the wine has a lovely floral perfume with berry fruit and a touch of spice. Supple and rounded, yet with a lot of finesse this is a Pinot Noir that can be enjoyed now or kept for an extended period – Outstanding.    $60

2010 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
This late harvest vintage produced just under 1,600 cases. This looks to be a classic vintage for Mount Eden Cabernet.  With a dark color the wine has a deep perfume of cassis, berries, and cedar. On the palate, the flavors are impressively rich showing cassis, cedar, and berry fruit and the wine is beautifully structured with well integrated tannins. This wine should develop over a period of 10-20 years and keep for decades – Outstanding Plus.    $60