Talk about legacy: the great red blends of Pomerol are regarded as a gold standard for Bordeaux excellence. When we had the opportunity to source Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot from Sonoma’s Alexander Valley we leaped at the chance to craft a wine in that tradition with California style: Cheval d'Acier.
Cabernet Franc announces its role first with aromas of green peppercorn; Petite Verdot adds savory black olive notes. Merlot finishes with red currant and berry essences. Complexity grows with the first sip: velvety berry, pepper, a hint of tobacco and leather. It's always smooth—just never simple.
Cheval d'Acier literally translates from French as “horse of steel.” It's a tribute not only to the great reds of Northern France but also to our Oakland roots: the steel container cranes that line Oakland's working waterfront whose equine outlines loom large in the view from our winery.
2015 was notable for its early spring, warm temperatures, and dry conditions. While Alexander Valley’s days are warm, it cools sharply at night—great for maintaining crisp acidity to complement lush fruit.
66.67% Cabernet Franc, 16.67% Merlot, 16.67% Petit Verdot
29 months in 1-2 year old French oak barrels
September 3-5, 2015
Brix at Harvest
March 29, 2018
August 1, 2018
The Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vineyards lie on a steep hillside northeast of Healdsburg with vines growing in gravel-rich alluvial soil—land akin to the great vineyards of Bordeaux. The Merlot vineyard is further north bordering Geyserville. It’s near the Russian River and benefits from gravelly river soil and a cool microclimate.
For a classic wine, choose classic food—say, a rare fillet of beef coated in crushed green and black peppercorns. Maybe, some black olive caviar. What about ratatouille? Then, to finish, a selection of sharp cheddar, a crumbly bleu, and creamy goat cheeses served with savory nut bread.