Yesterday, we sat down with Rob MacDonald, the winemaker at the Art + Farm winery and creator of one of our most popular Cabernet Sauvignons, the Girls in the Vineyard. And it’s easy to see why it’s so well-loved: rich and full of aromas of dried cassis, cherries, and currants, with hints of chocolate. The grapes for his Cab are grown at a high-elevation site in Lake County, just north of Napa and east of Mendocino. High elevation helps build acidity in wines, which contributes to structure. The terrain is made up of obsidian rocks mixed with bright red volcanic soil. The result is a nice mineral undertone to his wines, providing complexity and structure–and making wine geeks go gooey. Wines from this region are cheaper than their Napa counterparts (thanks to the less glamorous zip code), but still concentrated, full-flavored, and rich.
We also just brought in his Sauvignon Blanc–aromatic and bright, with tropical and grapefruity notes to it. It has nice acidic structure, but the finish is a bit softer than a lot of your standard SBs–making it utterly sippable. It grows in an ancient river bed in Lake County with gravely soil, again adding a touch of that minerality that translates into complexity and interestingness in his wines.
Rob is an Aussie who has been making wine for 20 years, and is a true experimenter at heart. He founded Old Bridge Cellars, and was a pioneer in bringing Australian wines to the U.S. He and his wife, Kat, refer to their vines as their “girls,” so their wines are labors of love named after their girls in the vineyard.