Jesus, what a beautiful cab. I honestly didn’t know who Ed Sbragia was until he launched his own label–eventually leaving Beringer–in the early 2000’s. I fell in love with his wines instantly, and have visited the TR several times. I don’t have to explain to readers of this blog the sort of vineyard relationships someone of his caliber and history MUST have in both Napa Valley and Sonoma. And the by-lines of the labels and quality in the bottle reinforces this. I keep a smattering of them in my cellar, and this 12YO Monte Rosso called my name from its dusty shelf tonight. Thick and dark, the maroon core gradually morphing to ruddy brick at the rim. A nose to absolutely DIE for: perfume so heady, dirty, composty peat churning, the candied elixir of beautifully-aged cab from an iconic Sonoma spot proudly flying the black-cherry flag, with plum and peach and bruised blood-orange inspiring all points of light. Nutty and decadent, saddle and rock-road plumes add edge and savory spice to the bouquet.

You can’t WAIT to taste it–and I’m not decanting this beast: it’s a pop & pour candidate if there ever was one–and the bloody coating it provides the palate is nothing short of eye-rolling. Perhaps even toe-curling. The balance is indescribable; the sweetness polishing each berry-point to delicious jelly; the factors of everything described in the nose injecting themselves into the still-bright fruit, creating velvet dust on one hand: sparkling–on the other sultry and decadent. A wine like this probably doesn’t have a *peak*, although the argument could be made NOW. Tannins are reduced to fond memories, the peppery alcohol making up most of the finish. I think this is my last one, and not ridiculously sad about that.

2009 SBRAGIA FAMILY VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vyd Sonoma 14.8

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