2019 Cuda Ridge Wines Mélange d’ Amis Reserve – A Truly Remarkable Blend

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The Winery

Photo ©Michael Kelly

There is a lot to be said about Cuda Ridge Wines in Livermore, California with Larry Dino as the winemaker and his wife Margie as chief wine taster. They produce Bordeaux style wines. The Cuda Ridge Wines tasting room is located at 2400 Arroyo Road in Livermore, California. Cuda Ridge Wines current production is approximately 2100 cases. They produce the following Bordeaux varietals: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and most recently their addition of Carménère. Always experimenting, Larry Dino also has produced non-Bordeaux style wines which are designated under their Black label, these wines include Sangiovese, New-World style Cabernet Sauvignon and others. Each varietal produced are small lots ranging from 100 – 450 cases. Cuda Ridge does extensive blending of the varietals and strives for lower alcohol wines with intense complexity and character, traditional of the Bordeaux style wines

The Wine 2019 Mélange d’ Amis  

Photo ©Michael Kelly

The name translates as “blended by friends”. Larry set out to make a Saint-Émilion style blend with enjoyable drinking characteristics. Without a lot of background on Saint-Émilion it was the first vineyard to be named on the World Heritage List for having over two thousand years of vineyards and wine production. The “terroir” is vast with a complex geology (sands, clay, limestone…) and a microclimate that is perfectly suited for winemaking in the Bordeaux region. Larry has captured the essence of the area in this wine.

The blend consists of 64% White Cat Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 30% One Oak Vineyard Merlot and 6% Smith Ranch Petit Verdot. On the eyes a deep lush red and purple entices the eyes and medium viscosity. On the nose, bright and lively red and dark fruits waft into the senses. However on the palate, is where this wine shines and reflects its heritage from France. A bold and hearty wine, but smooth like a recently paved highway with defined velvety tannins. Blackberry and cherry flavors caress the mouth and delight in providing such a carefully crafted wine.  The finish was medium long with freshness and providing a clean ending.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

This wine has deservedly won the following awards:

*Gold Medal – 2022 SF Chronicle Wine Competition
*Gold Medal – 2021 Orange County Fair
*Best of Show & Double Gold Medal – 2023 International Cabernet Franc Competition

On the website, the wine is listed $61/bottle and is 13.9 % alcohol.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Photo ©Michael Kelly

This wine was paired with a seared BBQ’ed Filet Mignon steak at 1200 degrees and served medium rare. Accompanying the meal was a fresh garden salad, a large artichoke and cauliflower stir fry with various vegetables. The steak was topped off with a dollop of Bleu cheese and chive butter. Each bite of the steak and sip of the Mélange d’ Amis was a beautiful pairing.

Even Saint-Émilion, whom the town is named after, living the life of a religious hermit, accomplishing a few miracles in and around the area, would have considered this worthy of his praise in the tradition of his miracles! This wine will make my annual “Best Wines Tasted in the year” for this year (published in December).






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