30 Best of California For California Wine Month

Each day in September, we'll feature an outstanding California wine from our 2014 tastings.
Wine of the day:

95 | Laurel Glen $30
2011 Sonoma Mountain Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy)

Patrick Campbell sold Laurel Glen to Bettina Sichel after the 2010 vintage. Sichel brought on winemaker Randall Watkins to manage the cellar, and viticulturist Phil Coturri Phil Coturri to introduce organic farming practices to the estate's sunny plateau on the volcanic eastern flank of Sonoma Mountain. Their first season, 2011, was cool and late—they finished harvest on November 1, and yields on the property averaged around 2 tons per acre. In blending Counterpoint, Watkins selected lots with comparatively soft tannins and fresh, approachable fruit. While this may be a "second wine," it's in beautiful form in 2011. The cool year comes through as a green edge that feels fresh, the scent of the wine suggesting California hillsides—bay, madrone and redwood. There's mouthwatering firmness to the tannins, the wine's structure carrying a mineral sparkle while a beam of black currant shines through the middle, growing brighter with a day or two of air. This is a dynamic and expressive California cabernet. Given the wine's humble price tag and aging potential, laying down a case seems like a great idea. (1,482 cases) Laurel Glen Vineyard, Glen Ellen, CA—Luke Sykora

Read past tasting notes.

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