Laura Michael Wines and 2015 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
My wife and I met Laura many years ago, I think exactly 2 dogs ago (reference her dog which greet you when you pull up to the winery). She acquired the property in 1999. Laura has always been a one-woman show until her husband Michael is now helping out in the vineyard management and Laura continues as the winemaker. Laura has for over two decades focused on small production artisan wines consistently year to year. When we can all get back to visiting wineries this is not “showy or upstaged” opulence, it is essentially their lifestyle and home. That said after spending some time with Laura, you immediately come away with the appreciation of her craft and pleasant personality. This quite boutique winery is just outside downtown Calistoga heading east on Lake County Highway. She currently produces three Zinfandel’s from different vineyards, Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, two Cabernet Sauvignon’s from Rutherford and Calistoga, a dessert wine made with 50% Zinfandel and 50% Petite Sirah, a Dry Rosé of Zinfandel and last but not least her flagship wine Bentley Cabernet Sauvignon. I still have a few bottles of her Bentley and one comes up to drink in 2021 and another in 2024. Unknown to Laura until she reads this, I have always kept her 2009 Bentley in a place of honor in the cellar on the display rack. Wines get this status either because the wine is exceptional or the winemaker/owner is someone special. In her case, both got her this position.
Last night pulled a Laura Michael 2015 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. A beautiful dark red on the eyes with a medium heavy viscosity. Aromas of red cherry, sweet pipe tobacco and a hint of mocha. On the palate, additional smooth French oak coat the mouth with a modicum of dark chocolate and peppercorns. The famous Rutherford dust is dominate after each perfect sip, and is a lasting and telling finish. Priced fairly for a classical Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at $65. This one will be hard to keep long in the cellar!