The Undiscovered California – 2015 Edition

One of the most intriguing aspects of the California wine scene is the pace of change. It seems like interesting new projects pop up virtually every year. These are some of the most exciting emerging wineries I have tasted within the last year or so. Most are in their first or second commercial release. Production levels are often tiny, so readers will want to jump on these wines.


Tony Arcudi is the associate winemaker at Fantesca by day, but he also makes a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Black Sears Vineyard on Howell Mountain under his own name. These two Cabernets capture a highly appealing middle ground that brings together intensity of fruit and structure. Arcudi hopes to grow his label to include a collection of single-vineyard Cabernets. Judging by this effort, he is off to a great start. I can’t wait to see what Arcudi comes up with next.

Arcudi’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard is perhaps a bit more tannic and vibrant than the 2012 tasted alongside it, but the flavor profile is essentially the same. Smoke, black cherries, blueberry jam, cloves, menthol and lavender are all laced into the highly expressive finish. (93-95)/Drinking window: 2019-2033. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard is every bit as special in bottle as it was from barrel. Graphite, lavender, mocha, smoke, blueberry jam, cassis and sage are some of the many notes that take shape in the glass. Over the last year the tannins have begun to soften, but there is plenty of Howell Mountain energy and tension. The ripe, exotic finish is a thing of beauty, though. 94
Drinking window: 2017-2032.

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