2017 Fifty Tons Cabernet Sauvignon
93 pts Jeb Dunnuck; 92 pts James Suckling
When Founders Chris James and Ames Morison discovered Bell Mountain Ranch, several of the vines were barely hanging on to crumbling terraces. To restore the natural terraces and protect the vines from further destruction, the founders along with Chris James’ father moved 50 tons of rock by hand to restore natural terraces for the vine rows. An homage to their painstakingly hard work to lovingly restore the terraces, we’ve named this structured and muscular Cabernet Sauvignon, Fifty Tons. The specific blocks that were harvested to create this wine are on steep hillsides making them difficult to farm, but incredibly intense in flavor.
The 2017 Fifty Tons Cabernet offers blackberry and blueberry aromas with hints of cassis, sea spray, and toasty oak. On the palate powerful deep berry flavors mix with fresh juicy red fruit elements and a luxurious chocolate character that leaves a long, lingering finish. The intensity of flavors are kept in check by the silky tannins and expertly integrated acidity giving this wine incredible balance and elegance.
2017 was a year of extremes. The winter gave us twice our normal rainfall ending a five-year drought. The summer then came on with more scorchers than we care to count (16 days over 100 degrees!) The season ended with the most devastating fire in California’s history. Despite the challenging growing conditions, the extremes ripened the grapes in magical ways allowing us to make some of our greatest wines – bright and aromatic whites and rosé plus supple, concentrated reds.