We created a hand-designed gift box for those special occasions, or if you want a little more Alpha Mare style in your home. The outside of the box features a drawing, hand done by our winemaker, Anne Vawter. It is reminiscent of hand-tooled leather and inside, are even more design features personal to us - Peter Samuels' stunning photograph of Paradigm, our red mare, and a photo of Anne's grandmother and mother riding horses up in the sierra. It is a lovely presentation and makes a generous and stylish gift.
Alpha Mare is the leader of the herd. This wine is Anne’s carte blanche and represents the best of her craft and experience in winemaking. Her heart and soul are in this work. The Cabernet Sauvignon base for our Alpha Mare Red hails from the Blossom Creek Vineyard in the Calistoga Appellation. With a sloping aspect providing consistent airflow and a slight northern exposure, this site is protected from extreme heat and produces exceptional quality grapes.
Barrel fermentation in small 225L oak barrels results in slower, cooler fermentation. The shape and size of the barrel produce a submerged cap. Gentle and consistent, this method of extraction gives mouth-filling, lush, and juicy tannin structure. The use of native yeast adds to the complexity, and a co-fermentation of Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot, Malbec, and sometimes a splash of Petite Syrah creates a round, vibrant, and pleasing wine with intense color and depth every year
This wine opens with a generous full and complex nose constructed of vanilla, cedar, graphite, and black currant. Warm and comforting aromas of shortbread, warm blackberry pie, and flint keep one coming back to this wine again and again. In the mouth, the wine has lots of generosity but also lots of tension. Fine-grained tannins mingle with firm acidity to lift the wine in the palate and give it a sense of energy. The tannins settle on the finish and lead the wine to a pleasing bloom of rich dark fruit.
While 2015 was another dry year; late winter rains fully recharged the soil profile giving the vines an excellent push come spring. This balance between crop load and canopy allowed for dappled sunlight and encouraged the development of complex flavors. We would be even more grateful for the leaf cover during the sporadic but intense heat storms of September and October. We already expected a smaller vintage after three years of drought when cool temperatures extended bloom from a usual average of 10 days to almost 40 days in some vineyards resulting in an even lighter crop load. This smaller crop brought us an early harvest with a wonderful concentration of flavor and lush mature tannins.