Double Gold Medal - San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
92 Insider Points
The 2014 Homestead Red from Alexander Valley Vineyards is a seriously fun wine, a blend of various red grapes from the estate vineyard that come together very well. Lovely blueberry, red cherry, boysenberry and red plum blend with floral notes and a hint of vanilla, making for a very smooth glass of wine. A well balanced everyday red that will not disappoint. Enjoy now through 2020. - DZ Aug 2016
45% Merlot, 34% Zinfandel, 8% Grenache, 6% Mourvedre, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Syrah
Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
More is definitively more when it comes to this delectable red from our friends at Alexander Valley Vineyards. This red blend achieves an impressive array of flavors and textures thanks in large part to the equally impressive array of grape varieties amassed within. Merlot, Zinfandel, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cabernet and Syrah make up the cépage of this unusual wine, and each grape proves itself to be essential.
The 2014 Homestead Red combines the lushness of ripe Merlot with the spice of brambly Zin, the fruity/jammy notes of Grenache, the body and earthy notes of Mourvèdre, the structure and elegance of Cab and finally the finesse and floral note of super high-quality Syrah. Our Tasting Panel was so wowed by this wine they could not imagine why there aren’t more MZGMCS blends out on the market. Well, maybe the clumsy acronym has something to do with it!
All varieties were picked and fermented on their own—a tricky and time-consuming step but a necessary one when it comes to blending this number of grape types, which all require their own individual hang times and fermentation techniques. The finished product is everything we know and love about California reds including bright, forward black cherry and berry fruit matched with sweet oaky vanilla notes and plush, satiny tannins. A superior wine with food or without and another newly released example of the outstanding 2014 vintage in Sonoma County.
Reasons why we love it:
AVV is owned by the Wetzel family, and includes three generations of hard-working Wetzels all focused on quality throughout the winery’s extensive portfolio.
The specific breakdown of this bold red is 45% Merlot 34% Zinfandel, 8% Grenache, 6% Mourvèdre, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Syrah, picked, vinified and aged separately—all for 13 months in a combination of French and American oak.
Wine Spectator called this a “zesty blend,” while the wine scored 88 points in both the California State Fair and the Ultimate Wine Challenge.
The brand new 2014 vintage is a promising one in Sonoma County thanks to a growing season of continued warmth and little rain. The Wall Street Journal writes: “Someday, when California’s persistent drought is finally over, wine lovers may lift a glass to its memory, toasting the extraordinary 2014 vintage it made possible.” And, according to the Wine Spectator, the most promising grapes in Sonoma for 2014 were Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
This dark purple wine has complex, earthy aromas of plum, cassis, black cherry, stone fruits, spice and violets. In the glass there are avors of spice, berry, plum, cherry, oak and vanilla. This is a nicely balanced wine with a juicy nish.
Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley was mostly prune orchards and pastures when, in 1962, Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased a large portion of a homestead built by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s nineteenth century namesake. Here, in a rural community of family farms and ranches, the Wetzel family settled. They raised livestock, cultivated bountiful gardens and restored Alexander’s original home, making it the center of family life. With an eye to their neighbors in nearby Napa Valley, the Wetzels boldly planted premium grape varieties, among the first in the area. Then the family built a small winery.
Hank Wetzel, oldest son of Maggie and Harry, produced Alexander Valley Vineyard’s first wine in 1975. His wife Linda set up the books and managed the winery office. AVV quickly established a reputation for estate grown wines with distinctive varietal character. Acclaimed for crisp Chardonnay and luscious Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Vineyards brought recognition to the appellation and became a leading winery in Sonoma County.
Hank’s younger sister, Katie Wetzel Murphy, joined the family business in 1979. An enthusiastic ambassador, she travels the country, fueling the family-owned winery’s reputation. Today the Alexander Valley is a prominent appellation known worldwide as the source of elegant, age worthy wines. The Wetzel Family Estate now grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Vineyard Manager Mark Houser and Winemaker Kevin Hall work as a team to maximize fruit flavor in the vineyard and to create balanced wines that capture the grapes’ varietal characteristics. Hank Wetzel oversees the vineyard and winery operations, and his wife Linda continues to oversee administration. Now the third generation of Wetzels has joined the winery. Harry Wetzel, IV is assistant winemaker while younger brother Robert is the National Sales Manager.
Perfect with red meats. Try it with grilled foods in the warmer months and long slow braised dishes in the cooler months.