53% Cab Franc, 47% Merlot. The parade of extraordinary value continues with yet another stellar vintage of our highly affordable Allusion. The 2012 is a laser sharp Bordeaux blend featuring Cabernet Franc and Merlot blended to bring balance and deep, ripe fruit into your glass. Alluding to the terroir, this wine shows considerable earthy richness. Our favorite pizza red!
Bottled July 2017. What that tells you is this wine was generously aged in fine French oak for 22 months. A blend of merlot, syrah and cabernet franc. Soft and elegant with a rainbow of assorted red and blue fruit accents. Drinking well now, but with the capability of evolving at least ten more years.
Robert Parker 90 Points (Free Shipping, Solid Case)
The Wine Advocate (Issue 220): "More classic in style than the 2010, the 2011 Blackjack Ranch Billy Goat Hill Merlot is still medium to full bodied and concentrated, with plenty of fruit and nicely integrated structure. Showing ample dark fruits, charred earth, smoked tobacco and sweet oak, it's hard to resist now and I don't see any reason to delay gratification either. It will hold through 2025 with ease." Black and beautiful, this is yet another fabulously rich version of our highly regarded Billy Goat Hill Merlot. Upon entering the Blackjack Ranch property the "wall" of vines that serves as a backdrop for the visual portion of our operation is Billy Goat Hill. This is Santa Barbara County's largest block of hand cultivated vines. This means no tractors, no sprayers, no plows, discs, chisels, or tillers. We do everything by hand. That means that these are the most "catered-to" vines around. Deeply concentrated and showing why merlot is one of the most sought after varietals in the world, "Sideways" or upright.
Robert Parker 90 Points (Free Shipping, Solid Case)
Showing a shade more fruit than the 2011 version, This Billy Goat Hill Merlot is herbaceous and dignified (go ahead and pour it for your "cabernet snob" friends!). Cedar, bay leaf, exuberant black plum, substantial weight for a merlot grown in a district not known for merlot. A wonderful companion for pork tenderloin, tri-tip, veal chop, or a gathering of loyal friends. An "east bank" classic!
A very special treat!
A saturated purple color is followed by an extraordinary bouquet of espresso, black fruits, cocoa, dried Provencal herbs and vanilla. An explosive attack, admirable vibrance, and very impressive concentration. This is everything you would expect from a vintage with the reputation of 2013. This is simply delicious and an extra special value at this price.
Robert Parker 92+ Points
For reference only, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (8/27/15): "Another terrific wine, the 2010 Cabernet Franc Suicide Hill has lots of ripeness in its concentrated black cherry, red plum, dried flower, and Asian spice-driven bouquet. Medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured and layered, with polished, sweet tannin, it's certainly approachable now, yet will be better with another 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for a decade after that. Anticipated maturity through 2028."
Newly released, toasty oak and clean, crisp fruit. This is currently the last vintage of Chardonnay "21" and at the case price of $199 is truly a great value.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate 94 Points
As always, the 30 rows in front of our tasting room somehow create magic year after year. Reliable and consistently high quality with depth of flavors focused around generous minerality and ample structure. This chardonnay has layers on its layers. Dijon Clone 76 from the Burgundy region. Very. Special. Stuff !!!
Ridiculously Good !
These vines are nurtured by growing in 8 by 5 spacing and are treated like family. One of the secrets here is we chose 420A rootstock which constricts the yield, thereby concentrating the fruit intensity. Steely minerality with white burgundy nuances. Crisp, snappy, lively--it's every bit that good.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate 92 Points
Dijon Clone 4 fruit drinking beautifully. Tangerine, brioche, wet rocks, honeysuckle, white flowers, great acidity. Yet another great rendition of one of our most popular wines; full of fruit, beautifully balanced. Staff tasting recently showed this wine was in fantastic shape with plenty of life ahead to enjoy. Occupying the lion's share of the east facing front vineyard parcel, you can see these vines when you park your car visiting our winery. Perfect companion with rich seafood dishes...
Still a well kept secret, even though this wine has been on our roster since 2001! This effort is quintessential Double Down: drinking like a bucketful of berries. SO affordable and SO popular! A special gift for a loved one or simply for yourself. A monumental value in this price range. Double Down is a "house red" for legions of our wine club members. Don't miss it!
Robert Parker Wine Advocate 90+ Points
Our most popular wine. Preceded by 90+ Robert Parker scores, this crowd pleaser features purplish black color. Rhone-like. Incredibly ripe, rich, and bright fruit. Collaboration of blackberries, blueberries, crème de cassis, and violets. Generous wine, juicy, smoky, jubilant and just plain fun. A hedonistic turn-on at a reasonable price. Beautifully integrated Remond French Oak. Grown in the block of vines to your right as you enter the property and make the turn towards the winery/tasting room.
The Wine Advocate 94 (Case Special $449) A "Hall of Fame" Wine
The Wine Advocate (8/27/15): "A step up over the 2005 and rivaling the 2010, the 2003 Harmonie is a sensational blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot that was raised in all new French Oak. Still youthful and fresh, with an inky purple color and lots of cassis, plums, violets, wild herbs, and leather, this full bodied, voluptuously styled beauty has brilliant concentration, a supple, pure texture, and a blockbuster finish. Up there with some of the best Bordeaux blends coming out of the Central Coast, drink it over the coming 7-8 years. Anticipated maturity through 2023." Still a scant few cases of this wine left! Don't miss your opportunity to experience one of the finest cabernet blends ever to come out of the Santa Ynez Valley.
The Wine Advocate 92 (Case Special $449) A Black Label Blackjack Gem !!
The Wine Advocate (8/27/15): "I'm always thrilled to be able to taste older releases. The 2005 Harmonie is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc that was aged in 100% new French oak. It offers classic cassis, lead pencil shavings, bay leaf and tobacco notes in a full-bodied ripe, layered, yet elegant style on the palate. Slightly less concentrated than the 2003, it's a beautiful Bordeaux blend that's fresh and lively. Feel free to drink this beauty anytime over the coming decade. Anticipated maturity through 2025."
Our Third "Black Label" Harmonie
Our first 100 percent Estate Grown Harmonie. A blend of 61% Estate grown Suicide Hill Cabernet Franc and 39% Estate Billy Goat Hill Merlot this is the Pomerol-St. Emilion style blend we set out to produce when we designed and planted Blackjack Ranch in 1996. We chose the specific location for the hillside Merlot and the hillside clay Cab Franc aiming for this wine. Reminiscent of a young Ausone beast this is one of very few of our wines which require patience. No matter how young any wine may be, I always enjoy opening one, revisiting it on the second and perhaps third night and getting a glimpse into its eventual aging evolution. This is fruit purity as clean as I have been able to offer you.
Robert Parker 92+ Points
One of the best values among our signature Harmonie blends. This wine is 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The formula for success was low yields. We limited our vines to 1.5 tons per acre early in the growing season in an attempt to capture the old-vine intensity. This strategy paid off handsomely when we harvested 100% fully ripe fruit. “A saturated dense dark color with sweet notes of crème de cassis intermixed with subtle smoke, graphite, licorice, lavender and mint. While deep, full-bodied, ripe and loaded, its high tannin level and structured style dictate cellaring this vintage for a minimum of 2-3 years. It should last for two decades.” The key description here is "high tannin level"; we affectionately call this wine a "whiplash red"! If you love a take-no-prisoners tannic backbone, this is your baby...
Robert Parker 94+ Points Points
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 220): "A shockingly good 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Barbara County, the 2010 Harmonie sports a saturated purple color to go with the spectacular notes of cassis, blackberries, singed leather, ink, and licorice. Big, full bodied and concentrated, yet not the least bit cumbersome, this terrific 2010 has loads of sweet tannin, notable freshness and purity and a blockbuster finish."
This is a "net priced" wine-no discounts apply.
Vintage #16 in a long line of highly successful Harmonie offerings. This one is straight off the top shelf. A "First Growth" effort. A very big, very pleasant surprise for us in that this version goes against all previous trends in blending by showcasing almost exclusively merlot! That's right; in 2012 our merlot drank like a cab! We didn't waste a minute in our decision to make it a singular bottling effort. Especially enjoyable over the course of a leisurely dinner, this wine just keeps showing off its layers: blue fruit, smoky sweet oak, and dark, exotic herbs. Displaying youth along with elegance, you can drink it for the next 10-15 delicious years!
Proprietor's Special Selection Reserve Santa Rita Hills
NOT a shy pinot! Amazing purity with gorgeous fruit, completely balanced by perfect acidity. An energetic candy apple bouquet jumps from the glass. Red currants, kirsch liqueur, and a compelling, silky texture. A dinner wine if there ever was one. We're happy to have this wine poured side by side with any pinot produced anywhere. Putting on weight as it ages. Delightful!!
This is a "net priced" wine-no discounts apply.
A Proprietor's Favorite. The fruit was grown under perfect conditions. Generously "fruit forward" from the 58% syrah, but beautifully rich, well-delineated and structured thanks to the addition of merlot and cabernet franc. This is a wine to put away for 2-3 years and consume over the following 10-15 years, if you can wait! We like it now with just an edge of a cellar chill on it to guzzle with a helping of spicy barbeque. Harmoniously pure. If you haven't tried it yet, you must!
Free Shipping, Solid Case, $399
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (8/27/15): "Coming from the Watch Hill Vineyard and made from 100% Syrah, the 2010 Maximus Black Pearl is another delicious, well-made wine from this estate. Black raspberry, cassis, vanilla bean, and carmelized meat-like characteristics all flow nicely to a medium to full-bodied, ripe, textured syrah that has plenty of mid-palate depth and sweet tannin. I like it. It will have a decade or more of longevity. Anticipated maturity: through 2022." Our notes: Another big time success from the Watch Hill Vineyard. Following the renowned 2007 Black Pearl, the fruit for this super reserve now comes from clone 174 syrah grown on 5C rootstock in rows 74-84 of block 1D of the gorgeous Watch Hill property off Alisos Canyon road north of Los Olivos. Impressive concentration, velvety texture, we like to say it drinks like the inside of a chocolate covered cherry! Our humble opinion? This is a 95 point wine we have evaluated throughout its elevage. Buy with confidence, it's a blockbuster.
As always, grown on the center west hills of Blackjack Ranch on steep sloping hillsides. That's where the depth, black and blue fruits, and complexity come from. The Wine Advocate (Issue 226):" The 2011 Syrah Maximus has a meaty, smoky, earthy and black-fruit driven bouquet. This gives way to a medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated syrah that shows the cooler, fresher style of the vintage, yet still has plenty of texture and length. It's drinking beautifully today, but will hold through 2023."
Positively Glorious !!
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 226): "Another beautiful wine. 100% syrah that was raised 18 months in French Oak barrels. Notes of blackberries, plums, olive, smoked herbs and licorice all emerge from the full-bodied, deep, rich, even gamy syrah that has a killer mid-palate and ample ripe tannins. It benefits from a decant and will have 10-15 years of overall longevity." Our thoughts for a pairing? How about a classic Beef Stroganoff? We're drooling already...hurry up and order!
The beat goes on! In a region where syrah grows so beautifully, our Maximus occupies the weightier end of the spectrum: lots of tannic muscle, lots of intense fruit. Wine Advocate (Issue 226): "Another big, rich concentrated wine offering lots of barbecue smoke, black fruits, licorice, scorched earth and hints of chocolate in a medium to full-bodied, mouth-filling style. It has a soft mid-palate and should easily cruise through 2023."
The Wine Advocate (Issue 226): "A big rich, concentrated effort that offers tons of ripe blackberry, smoked earth, pepper and bouquet gami, the 2014 Maximus hits the palate with full bodied richness, a big, stacked mid-palate and a big finish. There's ample structure and density here, and it really needs 4-5 years of cellaring. Drink through 2028." I guess the key word here is again "big" !! Cellar it, drink it now; there's no way to go wrong with a Maximus purchase...
Our 'Sideways' Wine
OUR "SIDEWAYS" WINE. Yes indeed, this is our featured wine in the film “Sideways”. In the continuity of the film, Jack and Miles taste Blackjack Ranch Maximus on “Monday” morning following breakfast in Solvang as their first stop of the day. The tasting begins 30 minutes, 16 seconds into the movie. The tasting room host proclaims: “This is our Syrah.” Miles lifts his glass to his nose and exclaims “Oooh!” Jack inquires: “Yeah, you like it?” Miles enthusiastically and emphatically responds: “That’s a BIG one!!!” (Our “Sideways” stills of their tasting are located on the east and west walls of the Tasting Room). The Syrah Maximus exhibits a deep ruby/purple color in addition to subtle, but sweet aromas of barbecue smoke, blackberries, cassis, licorice, saddle leather, and earth. It is a powerful, layered, ripe wine with moderately high tannin as well as admirable purity and persistence. Give it another 12-18 months of bottle age, and enjoy it over the following decade. Need we say more?