Sunday, May 2, 2010

2004 The McNab from Bonterra Vineyards

There is no question about the popularity of ecological wines. At one of the pioneering wineries, Fetzer Vineyards, the production has increased almost tenfold since early 90s. They were early into this field, when they founded Bonterra Vineyards in 1983. By 1996 the production of ecological wines had increased to 75 000 cases per year, just to see a production of 160 000 cases the year after. Today the production has reached almost four million cases!
Bonterra wines are honest, well made but seldom very exciting, although the quartet of Bonterra Roussanne, Bonterra Chardonnay (a big seller), Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon (a great value) and the sweet Bonterra Muscat are very good indeed.
Around 153 hectares is under vine at Bonterra Ranch in Mendocino, and it is all farmed either ecological or biodynamic. Since 2001 they also own the 51 hectare McNab Ranch, in the 1800s a sheep farm but since 1996 a certified organic vineyard, and now also by Demeter certified as a biodynamic vineyard. Form here, they make their prestige wine with the same name.

2004 The McNab / 86-87 p
This is a blend of approximately 65-70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 15-20 percent Merlot och 15 percent Petite Sirah, the latter grape from 45 year old vines. It’s made in a traditional way, with fermentation in stainless steel tanks with is natural yeast and regular remontage as the method for extraction. After fermentation, the wines are transferred into French oak barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation and maturation during 22-25 months.
It’s relatively dark, still youthful with a slight purple rim, and the nose is rich and intense with loads of dark berries with some notes of raisons and currants, also with a typical vanilla note from the oak. On the palate, it’s lush and fruit forward with notes of dark berries, fine but not lively acidity, well integrated oak flavors and a moderate alcohol. It’s a good wine, but it lacks the complexity of a great wine, and also the aftertaste is somehow a bit short. Still, it’s delicious with steaks or venison. I would decant it half an hour before drinking it, and serve it in a glass of Bordeaux type.
Drink it 2010-2016.

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