Sonoma Mountain Cabernet and More
About Our Wines
Laurel Glen Vineyard, a thousand feet up the slopes of Sonoma Mountain, has long been considered one of the iconic Cabernet vineyards of California. Originally planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1960’s, the present-day vineyard was developed in the 1970’s by Sonoma wine pioneer Patrick Campbell. The vineyard’s combination of high altitude, eastern exposure, rocky soils, and small diurnal temperature swings combine to produce memorable wines, rooted in a sense of place.
Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is more refined than many California mountain Cabernets. A typical Laurel Glen Vineyard Estate Cabernet displays an inky ruby color, an expressive bouquet of red cherries and blackberries, a velvety mid-palette, and always a spine of minerality that keeps the sweet fruit in check. A typical Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet displays great structure and firm tannins, yet also manages to be fleshy. The aromas of raspberry and cassis are balanced by savory notes and a bright acidity, making this a uniquely food-friendly cabernet.
After 30 vintages, Patrick Campbell sold the vineyard and winery to a group of wine lovers, led by Bettina Sichel, whose family has been in the wine business for so many generations, she jokes, if you cut her, she bleeds wine.
The new era at Laurel Glen Vineyard began in 2011 with an ambitious new team. Organic viticultural guru Phil Coturri, who grew up on Sonoma Mountain and spent a formative summer in his youth working at Laurel Glen, manages the vineyard. Winemaker Randall Watkins, who spent many years developing his skills with mountain Cabernet at Moon Mountain Vineyards, manages the cellar. Under their stewardship, Laurel Glen Vineyard has been rebuilt with great care. The vineyard is now certified organic with CCOF, pruning and trellising practices have been upgraded to emphasize greater concentration and consistency of ripening, and more care is being taken to sort the fruit at harvest by both cluster and berry. What hasn’t changed is a commitment to expressing a sense of place in the wines through gentle treatment of the fruit in the cellar. As in Patrick’s day, fermentations are with native yeasts and take place in open top fermenters, Taransaud is our primary cooper and the wines are unfiltered and egg white fined.
The result is evident in the current releases: wines that preserve the nuanced layers of flavor of the past, long a hallmark of these rocky slopes, while adding intensity and texture.