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Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 1.06.38 PMWhat do you expect out of a $30 bottle of wine? It isn’t a value but it isn’t a super splurge bottle of wine that you must save for a special occasion. Is there really a different between $20 bottles and $30 bottles? Does it depend more on demand or more on production costs and yields? I know in Virginia Petit Verdot goes for a higher price due to it’s low-yield high production costs.

This brings us to the retail $30 a bottle, the 2010 Viluko Vineyards Split Rock Cabernet Sauvignon. Located in Sonoma County on the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, Viluko Vineyards has a mere 37 of their 500 acres planted. Their website says that they practice organic farming but nothing shows that on the bottle. This harks back to the debate of “made with organic grapes” versus “organic wine.”

Here are the tasting notes from the Viluko Vineyards website:

Our Split Rock release is a balanced yet well-structured wine made for earlier consumption than our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Its bouquet overflows with molasses, red currant, cherries and licorice. The wine is lively on the palate, with fresh flavors of currants and cherry, followed by black tea, mint and pomegranate liqueur. The wine finishes as it begins, with fresh fruit and velvety tannin, sweet cocoa and baking spices.

The fruit was hand-harvested on a single day in October, destemmed and allowed to soak on the skins for 4 days cold prior to a wild fermentation. The fermentation was pumped over twice daily and allowed to macerate on the skins for a total of 47 days from crush to press. The wine was pressed into French oak barrels, 50% new, where it underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for a total of 18 months before it was bottled without fining or filtering.

Hearty meals that rely on wines with superior balance and firm acidity will find their match here. Conservative pairings would be polenta, rosemary and paella. Bolder entrees such as truffles, saffron or mussels would be equally as rewarding.

Interesting, I would never consider eating red wine with mussels but I may have to try that.

Color – Deep dark red with some purple.

Nose – Dark cherries, smoked meats and spices.

Taste – Black cherry, spice, and just a hint of lavender.

Finish – Medium to long with medium acid and surprisingly medium to lighter tannins.

Overall, it surprised me that it wasn’t more fruit forward like many Cabernets from California. The flavor is subtle and this wine is just not too bold and not too light. Good, I don’t know if it is worth $30 retail and who knows how much at a restaurant but still a pretty good wine.

Rating: B+

~Justin