Today’s Story: Immortal Estate
Immortal Estate is a very new winery in name, though the estate traces back to 1990 and Hidden Ridge Vineyard which lies in Sonoma County. Originally developed by Lynn Hofacket and Timothy Milos, Hidden Ridge Vineyard is situated on 150 acres in the mountainous terrain between Napa and Sonoma Valleys and, in its early years, developed somewhat of a cult following for the exceptional quality of the wines produced. In 2016, partners Tim Martin and Randy Nichols purchased the estate and, in an effort to increase exposure, rebranded it to Immortal Estate named after the “immortal jellyfish” to signify the wine’s lauded aging potential. Thanks to an exceptional terroir (and a unique slope of 55-degrees versus the now 15-degree maximum per county rules), the wines of Immortal Estate are often described as rich, complex, and long-lived.
Of Immortal Estate’s 150 acres, nearly 50 acres are planted to vine with 46 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 acre of Petit Verdot, and 1 acre of Chardonnay. The estate produces two wines, the Impassable Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($303) and the Slope Cabernet Sauvignon ($75). Fruit for both wines is hand-harvested over multiple pass-throughs, then hand-sorted at the winery before heading into native fermentation. Both wines see 50 days of maceration, then transfer to French oak barrels to age for 28 months. Come bottling, both are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
To learn more or view impressive images of the Immortal Estate vineyards, check out their website here.
Today’s Wine: 2014 Slope Cabernet Sauvignon
97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot; 14.9% ABV
The 2014 Slope Cabernet Sauvignon is opaque deep ruby in color. After 2 hours in the decanter, the wine really opens up and showcases a complexity I was not expecting. The nose is filled with rather pronounced aromas of crème de cassis, jammy blackberry, black plum, violet, licorice, sweet tobacco, graphite, loamy earth, cedar, and clove. The alcohol heat does show, but not as much as I expected. Meanwhile the palate is also of pronounced intensity with notes of blackberry jam, blackcurrant, blueberry, black cherry, licorice, violet, tobacco, dried herbs, charred oak, vanilla, clove, and chocolate. Again the heat from the high ABV does show. This dry Cab is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but velvety tannins, high alcohol, and a long finish. Overall this fits into the people-pleaser camp for me and the alcohol needs time to integrate, but this is still much more nuanced than I expected.
Price: $75 from the winery (I paid $65 retail). Though not particularly my style of Cab, this is in my opinion pretty fairly priced (particularly relative to some of the other Cabs of its style on the market). I am pleasantly surprised by the complexity, and given some time for the alcohol to integrate I think this could be a very solid wine in 5-7 more years. While I probably wouldn’t seek this out for myself again, it’s a great option for those who love the bigger style or for those who want to put a Sonoma County Cab up against the Napa Cabs they may be used to.