- Item #: i_214500Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Along with Richard Sanford, Steve Beckmen has been one of the leaders of organic and biodynamic grape farmers in the Santa Ynez Valley… and he has quite the bevy of high scores to show he’s doing things right! The Beckmen family have two properties in Santa Barbara County, but their Cabernet comes predominantly from the estate surrounding their winery. The gravelly, well-drained soil and warm climate is a perfect match for Cabernet Sauvignon. Planted on the hilltops and slopes of the property where there is the least amount of topsoil, the vineyard is planted with higher density to moderate the amount of fruit each vine has to ripen. Also, the vineyard is planted with three great Cabernet Sauvignon clones each adding to the complexity of the finished wine.
2018 has turned out to be one of the best vintages the Central Coast has seen in over a decade! Couple the quality of the vintage, along with this wine’s sub-$30 price point, and the 94-point score from Antonio Galloni, and you have a wine that is making wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and Paso take note to what the Beckmens (and Santa Ynez Valley) are doing right!
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley) is rich and explosive out of the glass. Inky dark fruit, grilled herbs, leather, licorice and a host of earthy notes flesh out in an expansive wine endowed with tremendous depth and complexity. This is such a gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon."
- Item #: i_213910Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 94Roger Bower, the owner and visionary behind Crown Point, purchased the property after recognizing its potential to produce world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. Crown Point is a true vanguard in the region, crafting premium wines that rival the best throughout the world. Nestled in the eastern-most foothills of the east-to-west transverse valley of the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA (American Viticultural Area), Crown Point is blessed with distinct climatic conditions and soil types that provide an ideal growing environment for Bordeaux varieties.
Winemaker Adam Henkel joined Roger in 2013. Adam, who spent 10 years in the Napa Valley, including eight years at Harlan Estate in Oakville, had long been fascinated by the viticultural diversity and geographical grandeur of Santa Barbara County. His pursuit at Crown Point has been to express the unique characteristics and individuality of the region's preeminent vineyards through farming and winemaking at the highest possible level.
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "the deep, inky colored 2015 Estate Selection is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% each of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, and the rest Merlot, aged 26 months in new French oak. This beauty boasts a fabulous bouquet of blackcurrants, melted licorice, cigar wrapper, and tobacco leaf, with more spice and dried flower notes coming through with time in the glass. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and elegant, with beautiful purity as well as ripe tannin, it certainly has the class to drink nicely today, yet will be even better with 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for two decades."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Estate Selection is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, 9% Malbec and 2% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sings of perfumed kirsch, warm black cherries, cassis and plums with touches of rose hip tea, eucalyptus, baking spices, violets and fragrant earth. Full-bodied, rich and spicy in the mouth, it has a firm, velvety texture and loads of layers, finishing with a lively lift. 509 cases produced."
- Item #: i_213900Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94-96Jeb Dunnuck: 94JEB DUNNUCK 94-96 POINTS - "Owner Roger Bower's Crown Point Vineyards, with help from the team of Philippe Melka and Maayan Koschitzky, are unquestionably fashioning some of the top Bordeaux blends coming out of Santa Barbara County today. The young Frenchman Simone Faury has replaced Adam Henkel as head winemaker, and unquestionably, the future is very bright for this address."
"Functioning as the second wine of the estate (meaning younger vines and blocks that didn't make the selection for the top cuvee), the 2018 Relevant checks in as 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot that spent 22 months in barrel. Beautifully pure cassis, violets, flowery incense, and spice notes all emerge from this beauty, which is soft, supple, layered, and just impossible to resist. It's an opulent, sexy wine that certainly doesn't taste like a second wine at this point."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94-96 POINTS - "The 2018 Relevant is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot from younger vines and blocks on the property, and it is still aging in barrel. Deep ruby, if offers classic cassis, cedar, graphite and crushed boysenberry aromas with hints of Chinese Five Spice and licorice. The palate is medium to full-bodied with concentrated but fresh fruit character, a finely pixelated frame and seamless freshness, finishing long and super classy. 900 cases are expected to be made."
- Item #: i_227390Bottle Size: 750mlLocated at the far East end of Santa Ynez Valley, the Happy Canyon vineyard is perhaps a bit like the fabled city of El Dorado when it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon. But instead of a city of gold, we have rich soils of clay and loam, providing for smaller vines and more complex fruit-- making it a stellar location to grow warmth-loving grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon. The brilliance of the Cabs we’ve tried from Happy Canyon, in general, and this Ground Effect, in particular, make for an easy call when it comes to 'winning the gold' as our July Wine of the Month!
The scents are rife with classic Cabernet cherries, joined by notes of blueberries, strawberries and rhubarb. Add a touch of white pepper, incense and cedar, brightened by a waft of rose garden air, and it makes for quite the pleasurable palette for the nose. Pavlovian response noted.
In the mouth, the fruits are reiterated from the nose (more cherries, raspberries and cassis) while kept fresh and uplifted by excellent streaks of acidity and light tannins. The palate is wonderfully viscous and adds hints of fruit leather, black tea and cacao toward the mid-palate and finish. Dark chocolate, toffee and blackberries make for a lovely curtain call as the finish lasts and lasts. Drink now and enjoy for years to come.
Geek out note: Happy Canyon is a special and young AVA (2001). It sits at the collision of 2 ranges (Santa Ynez, San Rafael), protecting and regulating the climate.
Blend: 95% Cab Sauv, 3% Cab Franc, 2% Merlot.
- Item #: i_232470Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 97Owned by Stan Kroenke (who also owns Screaming Eagle), Jonata is located in Ballard Canyon, just south of Los Olivos and is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. The entire Jonata property is comprised of sand, with varying amounts of clay. The vineyards are sustainably farmed (herbicides and pesticides don’t even enter the conversation), and the area enjoys very cool nights due to winds coming off the Pacific Ocean, mixed with very warm days during the summer months. This helps to create wines of exceptional structure, intensity, and ageability...and it’s not uncommon for these Jonata wines to earn 97-100 points from the critics!
Jonata’s winemaker is Matt Dees, and he has the kind of resume that makes other winemakers green with envy. Having previously worked at other noteworthy estates such as Staglin in Napa, and Craggy Range in New Zealand, Matt has learned how to coax the best out of several different grapes grown in a variety of climates.
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "The 2014 El Desafio de Jonata is a baby that needs to be forgotten for 5-6 years. A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 4% each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, it offers terrific notes of blackcurrants, lead pencil shaving, licorice, tobacco leaf and roasted meats. Seamless, elegant and gorgeous on the palate, with a phenomenal texture, ultra-fine tannin, and a great finish, it's a tour de force in Santa Barbara County Cabernet Sauvignon. It will keep for 2-3 decades."
- Item #: i_232400Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95Vinous Media: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 95ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Ordinarily I might say that I was impressed with these wines from Jonata, but quality is so consistently high now that it excellence is the norm. Matt Dees is one of the most brilliant winemakers of his generation. But Dees is more than just a winemaker, he has also been able to assemble a team around him to help look after Jonata, The Hilt, The Pairing, vast estate vineyards and a new winery facility, plus whatever other projects are on the horizon, and that may be an even rarer talent than knowing how to make compelling wines."
"The 2015 El Desafio de Jonata, the estate's Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend, is dense, powerful and super-expressive, with tremendous textural richness and thrust. Still very, very young, the 2015 is going to need at least several years to come into its own. Even so, it is incredibly impressive in the early going."
JEB DUNNUCK 95+ POINTS - "From the lowest yields since 2004, the 2015 El Desafio de Jonata smells like a barrel sample with its jammy blackberry, blueberry, cassis, crushed rock and lead pencil aromas and flavors. Rich, mouthfilling, plush and textured, yet with loads of underlying tannin, it's going to be another terrific vintage for this cuvee, yet it needs to be forgotten for 5-7 years. The blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot (there's no Cabernet Franc) aged 20 months in 80% new barrels."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the 2015 El Desafio de Jonata has a deep garnet-purple color and nose of cassis, blueberry compote and warm plums with hints of cigar box, dusty earth, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. The rich, medium to full-bodied palate gives layers of plums, earth notions and spices, with firm, grainy tannins to frame and a long, layered finish."
- Item #: i_232490Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 96JEB DUNNUCK 96+ POINTS - "Based on 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc, the 2016 El Desafio de Jonata is one of the more firm, focused wines in the lineup. Classic Cabernet blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, and crushed rock-like notes all flow to a concentrated, powerful, tannic wine that has considerable baby fat as well as length. It's not going to hit prime time until after a decade of bottle age, but it's a beautiful, remarkable Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Barbara County that will keep for two decades."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Cabernet Sauvignon takes the leading role in the 2016 El Desafio de Jonata. Graphite, crushed rocks, sage, smoke, lavender and grilled herbs abound in this super-expressive wine. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2016 packs a serious punch. Readers should be prepared to cellar it for at least a few years."
- Item #: i_232460Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 97Jeb Dunnuck: 97ANTONIO GALLONI 97 POINTS - "The 2017 El Desafio de Jonata is another positively stellar wine in this range. Two thousand seventeen is one of the few years in which Cabernet is so dominant. Rich and explosive, with tremendous vertical thrust, the 2017 oozes with class and intensity. Creme de cassis, new leather, licorice, sweet spice and menthol are some of the many notes that build as this statuesque, alluring wine shows off its pedigree. In 2017, the blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Wow...!"
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "The Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated cuvee is the 2017 El Desafio De Jonata, which includes 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. It's another inky colored wine from this team and offers a brilliant bouquet of creme de cassis, tobacco leaf, cedar, bay leaf, and crushed rocks. Beautifully concentrated and balanced, with a Bordeaux-like structure and regal style, it's a magical Cabernet Sauvignon that's going to benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age yet keep for 20-30 years."
- Item #: i_276300Bottle Size: 750MLThree Saints wines are a vivid expression of carefully selected grapes from the Dierberg Family's vineyards which are located in three of Santa Barbara County's premium wine growing regions: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley.