2019 Pedroncelli Merlot, Bench Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Aromas are rich and enticing with hints of spice and ripe berries. Flavors of black plum and warm baking spices are showcased with a light oak toast and minerality. Medium-bodied with soft tannins follow through to a savory and lingering finish. A beautifully balanced wine.
The source for our Merlot comes from three vineyard blocks off of our estate vineyard located along Dry Creek Road from a vineyard planted over 5 years beginning in 1990. Bench Vineyards, the name chosen for this wine, describes the natural terraces that flank Dry Creek Valley and rise gradually into the steep hills. Characterized by sloped topography and gravelly/rocky residual soils, the unique growing conditions combine to bring out the best in our Merlot.
The 2019 vintage brought plenty of rain, and even and cool growing season which slowed maturity. Perfect weather conditions during harvest season with warm days and cool nights developed more aromatics and flavors than previous vintages. The grapes were harvested on September 27 and crushed into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and cold-soaked for 48 hours. Daily pumpovers during the fermentation gives a substantial increase in flavor and color. The young wine was transferred to small American oak barrels to age for 12 months in order to develop smoothness and complexity, giving the wine a subtle backbone of oak components with a judicial use of new oak.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Barrel Aging: 12 months in American Oak, 30% new
Total Acidity: .562g/100ml
2019 Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Three Vineyards
Aromas of dark ripe berries, dried herbs, and earthy notes introduce this medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Round tannins are framed by cherry, plum, and blackberry fruit followed by highlights of oregano and mocha toast notes. Great structure and good acidity combine with a long finish framed by toasted notes and spice. Enjoy upon release or cellar up to ten more years.
Three Vineyard Blend
Estate fruit was harvested from the northern end of Dry Creek Valley, where these Bordeaux varieties excel. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot were hand-picked just a mile from the winery. Each develop exceptional character on the vineyard sites situated on the valley bench. The vines receive the right amount of sun and cooling fog which develops optimal flavors in the grapes. Careful vineyard management during the growing season defines the style even more.
The vintage of 2019 was off to a slow beginning with a good amount of rain from the winter kicking off the year. This was followed by a mild summer which slowed the ripening of the grapes for an even-handed growing season. This gives the fruit excellent development. Harvest of the separate blocks began on October 4 and finished on October 7. The extended season and hang time all resulted in more aromatics and deeper flavors.
Barrel Aging: 14 months in French oak with 30% new oak
Total Acidity: .615g/100ml
2019 Pedroncelli Cabernet Franc, Dry Creek Valley, Barrel Select
There’s a bouquet of dark berries, floral notes, and black pepper spice followed by flavors of dark fruits, some minerality, and bright acidity all integrating nicely. The rounded tannins frame the zesty finish and is accented by toasted oak and spicy notes.
Grown in the heart of the renowned Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, these grapes are farmed on the Pedroncelli estate. Situated on the bench above the valley floor, this vineyard gains its’ personality from the soil and the location’s microclimate.
Cabernet Franc was planted in 1993 to complement the Three Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux blend. We make this small lot wine so this variety can shine on its own. The vineyard is sustainably farmed, hand-pruned, and hand-harvested.
Vintage Notes & Winemaking
The year began with plenty of rain giving the vines much needed water. Summer was cooler with no prolonged heat. The cooler temperatures slowed the ripening of the grapes while providing great development during season. The resulting wine has a greater level of flavors and aromas. The crushed grapes were transferred to the fermentation tank to cold soak for 24 hours and then inoculated with selected yeast. Daily pump-overs give the wine maximum phenolic extraction. Transferred to French oak barrels for 16 months with 30% new oak. Combined with the additional time in oak the tannins are softened and complex layers are developed in the finished wine.
Varietals: Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Barrel Aging: 16 months new (30%) and seasoned French oak barrels
Total Acidity: .615g/100ml
2x 2019 Pedroncelli Merlot, Bench Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
2x 2019 Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Three Vineyards
2x 2019 Pedroncelli Cabernet Franc, Dry Creek Valley, Barrel Select
4x 2019 Pedroncelli Merlot, Bench Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
4x 2019 Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Three Vineyards
4x 2019 Pedroncelli Cabernet Franc, Dry Creek Valley, Barrel Select
The year was 1927. President Calvin Coolidge captured the imagination of nobody. Babe Ruth hit home run after home run powered by little more than whiskey and sausage. And John Pedroncelli, Sr. bought a vineyard and winery in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. Since then, four generations of Pedroncellis have weathered Prohibition, wine booms and busts, and changing tastes. And they’re still a family-owned operation making acclaimed premium wines. Wherever you are now, Sultan of Swat and Silent Cal, this next glass is for you.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
Holy inflation Batman! Last year the 2018 vintage offer (same mix) was $140. I love Pedroncelli wines, and realize the days of $89 cases are long gone, but at $200/case do we still say “Pedroncelli is Italian for QPR?”
With that offer being in April and this being July, my guess is the current summer shipping of 2-day transit adds a substantial increase. Not to say that’s the only factor, but should be considered.
@chefjess@pseudogourmet98 Actually that offer was 2017 CF not that it really matters…but the 2018 CF was in a previous offer Oct '21…annnnd speaking of CF that seems to be a player in price here. The '17 and '18 Franc were both a $22 msrp wine at the winery, the '19 in this offer, same wine, is now $36 msrp at the winery. So that’s a 50+ dollar increase right there.
Yes, still Italian for QPR. How many well built, age-worthy wines can you get for $16 or so a bottle? Yeah, it sucks that the winery price isn’t $18/bottle like in the woot days but so it goes. If you’ve never had a decently aged Pedroncelli you’re missing out on some of the best QPR this side of Italy.
IMHO very humble opinion any $15 bottle that is drinkable (these are much more than drinkable) has to be good QPR! This reminds me of years ago my father in law was over and I poured a bottle of Tenuta Caberino not sure if thats the name? A bottle I was very proud of that was $15 delivered, he said he loved it and asked how much did I pay? I proudly told him it was $15 delivered, pretty sure after that judging by the look on his face that he wanted my wife to divorce me for spending that much on a bottle of wine Granted he pretty much only drank Itialian wine with a basket on it.
Good points all. I will buy a case as we just acquired a 4th wine cooler (please don’t judge) and I have empty slots again. I was just commenting on the dramatic increase in a year. @ScottW58 Pretty sure my mother-in-law would’ve had the same reaction!
What else…ok raise your hand if you’ve been waiting for Wine Spectator musings… no one?? hmmm… well here y’all go anyway:
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, 88 Points. May 31, 2022.
Direct, displaying a solid beam of cassis, plum sauce and violet flavors lined with dark licorice and shaded by a dark earth tint on the finish. Drink now through 2024. 8,200 cases made. — JM
Merlot Dry Creek Valley Bench Vineyards 2019, 89 Points. April 30, 2022. Shows a supple mix of dried red cherry and currant flavors, with notes of hot stone as well as sanguine hints in the midpalate. The finish is highlighted by cooking spice accents and hints of dried fig. Drink now. 1,750 cases made. — KM
Beverage Tasting Institute (tastings.com) says of the CS:
90 Points. Gold Medal. Exceptional. Tasted 1/13/2022.
Black garnet color. Aromas and flavors of red cassis, hints of amaretto, and parker dinner rolls with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, subtle, medium-long finish revealing notes of roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, fresh green pepper, and hints of vanilla with light oak flavor. A fruity, pure wine with restrained oak.
BTI on the Merlot:
93 Points. Gold Medal. Exceptional. Cellar Selection. Tasted 1/13/2022.
Dusty ruby color. Aromas and flavors of sun dried tomato, blistered raspberry, roasted red pepper, and honey with a velvety, crisp, dry medium-to-full body and a warming, nuanced, long finish with accents of roasted hazelnuts, cured meats, and cocoa butter. Great texture, great body, and a distinctive savory style.
Bottle Barn selling the CS for $15.49, the Merlot for $14.99 (limited stock on the Merlot). Total Wine has the CS for $15.49 as well.
While I do have a bit of Pedroncelli stashed away already - I have this superstition: Just as it is 20 years bad luck to leave Costco without buying a $5 roasted chicken - I think one will have the same fate passing up a Pedroncelli offer.
And today, Thursday, is National Dive Bar Day! As our office is closed on Fridays in the summer, we’ve got plans to celebrate the occasion appropriately. Cheers!
@woopdedoo Here is the strange part, I just got back from Costco now and eyed the chicken back and forth but passed and I was at the gate of Pedroncelli on the forth to find them closed. Not sure what it all means but I bought a case.
Since my storage is overflowing, and my last delivery arrived at a bottle temperature of 104°F (after being in the truck all day, despite two directives to hold at a UPS store), I think I’ll pass on this one.
@Mark_L Don’t get me start on how much I miss FedEx that would always deliver to a local air-conditioned FedEx Office in the morning when leaving their hub, and the local Office would hold it FOR NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE for a week and were always nice and helpful.