This wine is a family project ten years in the making, from the planting of the vineyards to the naming of the first estate produced wine. In 1990 Dan and Gloria Schaefer started planting vines on some heavily terraced land at 1800 feet above sea level in the Mayacamas Mountains, overlooking the Sonoma Valley. They selected the site for its ideal southwestern exposure, and for its soil potential, deemed to be promising, especially considering its famous neighbor, the Monte Rosso vineyard which lies downhill just to the south.
Starting with the first vintage, the grapes have been sold to wineries including Kenwood Winery, Valley of the Moon Winery, Pahlmeyer Winery, Ledson Winery, Kunde Estate Winery, Charles Creek Winery, Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Pax Wine Cellars, Ramey Wine Cellars and Arrowood Vineyards and Winery. In 1999, with the encouragement of Richard Arrowood who is their current winemaker, the family began the process of creating their own estate bottling.
Audelssa Estate, named using pieces of each of the Schaefer daughters’ names (Audrey, Chelsea, Alyssa) is now on its second release of wine from these vineyards which continue to provide the bulk of their grapes to the aforementioned wineries. The estate produces a Syrah as well as this Cabernet, and it looks like they also produce some olive oil as well.
This wine is 100% estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 24 months in 100% French oak (40% new) before bottling. 1097 cases produced.
Darkly garnet colored in the glass, this wine has a very light nose which opened up a little over time to include aromas of minerals, black cherries and coffee with a light floral note, but never really matured beyond what you might call “restrained.” In the mouth the wine displayed very traditional Bordeaux flavors of tobaccco, wet stones, mocha, and black cherries, all wrapped in nice earthy tannins. In keeping with the European style, the wine’s fruit flavors are reserved and light, missing the heavy extraction that is typical for California Cabernet these days. The wine’s mouthfeel is unfortunately a little flat and thin, deflating the nice flavor profile. It finishes lightly with a bit of black tea flavor.
This is a wine that will complement earthy flavors nicely. Try it with this mushroom leek soup with brie croutons.
Overall Score: 8.5
How Much?: $25
You can find this wine at various online retailers.