Fission 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
The Alta Vista vineyard is the kind of place where everything feels immediately right. It’s this effortless natural balance that you notice even tasting berries in the fall. Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t always taste good in the field. But it does here.
Fission is a pure mountain wine, with a dark depth of fruit chiseled by the cool elevation of its vineyard.
A wine of texture, with the intensity and sappy concentration we associate with old vines, it builds into powerful tannins that remain refined, almost cloaked by the seductiveness of the fruit and the gently building structure. The name Fission was ultimately chosen to reference the textural and mineral characteristics that the unique volcanic soils of the Alta Vista vineyard bring to this wine.
As you leave the town of Sonoma and head north into the hills of the Mayacamas mountain range that separates Sonoma from Napa, within a mile and a half you are on a narrow, rutted road at the bottom of a valley, sparsely populated, and then you start climbing, and find yourself almost entirely surrounded by forest, scrub and rock.
When you close the car door and turn to look up at Alta Vista, it’s like striding across a stage and looking up at the lights and rising rows of an audience. It feels like you are in an ancient Roman amphitheater, a player on stage, with the terraced row of vines looking down on you.
The vines at Alta Vista are fully adapted, they are truly part of the site, following the contours of the hill. They are old — fifty years old — which is exceptional by California standards. They come from a different era. And the site has so many expositions, and we believe either has some other varieties (Cabernet Franc) or because of age has Cabernet mutations that behave differently. We want to gently accentuate all these complexities, and the intense fruit and general plushness don’t need further enhancement. Preserving this complexity also leads to far greater aromatic intensity, and more precision in the structure as freshness is retained.
This winemaking is about as minimalist as it gets, and the end result is a wine with not only deep and pure fruit, but rich savory and earth tones, and a finishing minerality that is almost saline. That precise and complex aftertaste, defined by far more than fruit flavors, is where you find truly great wines.
“From the Alta Vista Vineyard, this impressive red is earthy in cedar, pencil shaving and dried herb. A violet note highlights the elegant palate, which is restrained in oak and integrated in tannin. The fruit is savory in character, with lasting focus on the finish.”
- 94 Points, Virginia Boone, Wine Enthusiast
“This is a balanced red, showing blackberry and bark with chili and some herbs. It’s medium-to full-bodied with nice drinkability and a succulent, flavorful finish. Iodine, pine needles, slate and graphite undertones. Subtle.”
-93 Points, James Suckling
“The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Fission is terrific, with classic Cabernet cassis and darker currant fruits as well as lots of minerality, lead pencil, and tobacco-like aromas and flavors. I love its purity of fruit, and it has fine yet present tannins, terrific balance, and a great finish. This gorgeous Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon will evolve for at least 15 years.”
-93 Points, Jeb Dunnuck