From the back hills of St. Helena, in the direction of Spring Mountain, comes Abreu’s first single-vineyard offering from vineyards planted in 1982, the Madrona Ranch. This cuvée usually contains at least 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and one of the highest percentages of Cabernet Franc, ranging from 33% to 45%. Tiny quantities of Petit Verdot and Merlot are also added, depending on how they fared in any given vintage. Last year I mentioned that the 2011 Proprietary Red Madrona Ranch was one of the rare Abreu wines that showed a little herbaceousness, but that has completely aged out. There is now a forest floor intensity to this full-bodied, opaque purple-colored 2011. After spending 26 months in 100% new oak, it exhibits great fruit, concentration and intensity. The fact that Abreu and Grimes do malolactic in their new oak barrels seems to integrate the wood better than at many wineries. It is certainly a key to understanding the wine’s complexity. It displays lots of Christmas fruitcake, coffee, chocolate and spice box notes, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and sweet tannin. Drink it over the next 15+ years.
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