If you read my post from yesterday, I know what you’re thinking. Why wax on so poetically about how wonderful Ashes & Diamond’s red wine is and then give a review on a rosé? Fair enough. In all honesty, I used my assessment for the A&D Cab Franc rosé as part of an assignment for my WSET Diploma studies, so I had the write up at the ready. But, here you go, the Ashes & Diamonds 2017 Mountain Cuvée fits the exact description I gave you yesterday.


About the Wine: Ashes & Diamonds 2017 Mountain Cuvée

This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc sourced from Bates Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. According to the winery, the Cabernet Sauvignon grows at 2,100 feet elevation and an extreme southeast slope of 30%. A few hundred feet below, the old-vine Cabernet Franc is dry farmed in well-draining silt soils. The picks of the two vineyards are staggered and then the grapes are co-fermented by native yeasts.

9 days pre-fermentation maceration
pH 3.49
TA 6.3 g/L
ABV 13%
Barrel Aged 19 Months in 40% new American Oak (Canton)
250 Cases Produced

Flavor Profile:

Appearance: Medium ruby

Aroma: Medium (+) intensity. Aromas include: bramble, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, black plum, chocolate, cedar wood, wet leaf/forest floor, cassis, black currant, and tomato leaf.

Palate: This is a dry wine with a medium level of alcohol, medium acidity (+), medium (+) tannins, and an overall medium (+) body.

Flavor intensity is medium (+). The fruit components to the flavor profile perfectly mimic what was detected on the nose, but on the palate there is the added specificity of “just ripe-ness” to those fruits. On the palate there are additional flavors I didn’t quite get on the nose, including smoke, tobacco, coffee, and even a hint of leather.

The finish is medium (+) to long.

Conclusion: Based on the WSET criteria, I concluded that this wine is very good to outstanding. It’s clearly balanced—the lighter, fresher fruits hold their own, with neither the acidity nor the alcohol overpowering. There’s complexity here, added by the modest addition of new American oak during the aging process. Furthermore, both on the nose and on the palate, I did already start to get a hint of those tertiary characteristics (wet leaf, forest floor, leather). And I know I put this wine at a medium (+) body—which it is—but even then, there’s an element of lightness to it that I was not expecting. (Gluggable Napa Cab anyone?)

I was undecided on the length, hedging between medium (+) and long. What lingered was a bit of toast and kind of chocolate notes in the back breath. Certainly pleasant, that I think I’m ultimately going to say that the length was long and, therefore, I can confidently say that the Ashes & Diamonds 2017 Mountain Cuvée is an outstanding wine. Drinkable now, but with the amount of structure from the tannins, the strength of those fruit flavors, and a good dose of acidity, I can also confidently add that it is suitable for long-term aging.

Food Pairing: I paired the Ashes & Diamonds 2017 Mountain Cuvée with roasted herb-crusted lamb rack served with a caramelized onion jam and a side salad.

More Info: I received the Ashes & Diamonds 2017 Mountain Cuvée as a sample. (Cheers Sao, and the whole A&D team!) Price: $105. For more information about Ashes & Diamonds, their wine, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Ashes & Diamonds website.

Read my technical review of Ashes & Diamonds: Technical Spotlight: Ashes Diamonds—Former music executive celebrates Napa’s greatest hits, bringing ‘old school’ winemaking at a new winery designed to evoke the past

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**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**

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