Winery/Vineyard: Monte de Oro, Vista Del Monte Vineyard
Product/Varietal: 65% Syrah + 35% Cabernet Sauvignon
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Gold Medal 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
How They Describe It
About the Wine:
“Vigna Vicini” means “Vineyard Neighbors”. Vista Del Monte Vineyard is Monte de Oro’s first vineyard, planted in Spring 2002. It contains 5.2 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 9.6 acres of Syrah grapes. The 2016 Vigna Vicini is comprised of 65% Syrah and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. 53% of this wine was aged in brand new French and European Oak barrels with the remaining 47% aged in 3-4 year old neutral barrels. This wine was bottled in August 2019 after aging for 31 months. 400 cases were produced. We hope you enjoy this wine!
How I Describe It
The 2016 Vigna Vicini’s color has medium intensity, while showing as powerfully dark ruby-purple. It accurately foreshadows the wine’s boldness, youthfulness, and age-worthiness.
Black currant, blackberry, and blueberry bounce from the glass, along with more subtle black plum and bramble aromas. A hint of green bell pepper blends with lavender, black pepper, and eucalyptus. Nearly three years in European oak manifests with nutmeg, clove, and cedar, as well as a more subtle bittersweet chocolate note and a bread toast undertone from the yeast.
Fruit flavors in Monte de Oro’s 2016 Vigna Vicini largely matches the nose, featuring black currant, blackberry, blueberry, and bramble. Herbal and herbaceous notes come across with green bell pepper, eucalyptus, lavender herbal tea and a bit of dill, all framed by black pepper spice. Bread dough, nutmeg, clove, bittersweet chocolate, and freshly chopped wood tell the story of time spent fermenting and oak aging.
The 2016 Vigna Vicini is dry by any standard. At 14.8% ABV, alcohol content is high by aggregate wine standards, but only slightly more what industry norms for Syrahs and Syrah-based blends. Acid is a pleasant medium, along with surprisingly smooth medium-plus tannins. Together, this creates a ripe, full-bodied wine with medium-plus flavor intensity and a gorgeously long finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
This is Monte de Oro’s second review on TWR, and they’re proving how consistently they craft stand-out wines. But let’s take a moment to recognize what it means when a winery recognizes one specific vineyard on the bottle.
When it comes to winemaking, bad grapes will make bad wine. Good grapes might make good wine. When you make your wine, and limit the source of the grapes to only 15 acres of vines, it means there’s something special about that vineyard.
On a not unrelated note, Vista Del Monte Road is also is also home to Vindemia Winery, which currently boasts TWR’s highest rating to date. There might be something special about that little pocket of land.
Now let’s talk about the 2016 Vigna Vicini, specifically. The strong showing in this year’s vintage follows the trend that Syrah grows well in the Temecula Valley AVA. Cabernet Sauvignon can be a bit more tricky to grow in the same region, but many wineries (Monte de Oro included) make it work. What’s interesting is how well Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon’s flavors complement one another.
Temecula Syrahs are known for bold, ripe dark fruit. Cabernets can show both red and black fruits, but are great for adding vegetal and tannic layers. Monte de Oro’s 2016 combination of the two varietals creates deep dimension, and a uniquely delicious flavor profile.
When & How I Would Drink It
The Monte de Oro 2016 Vigna Vicini is a quintessential food wine, seemingly crafted to be paired with a hearty meal. Dry-rubbed red meats, whether grilled or roasted, would accentuate the wine’s fruit characteristics. Stews or tomato-based sauces would interact similarly, with the added bonus of cutting through some of the food’s richness.
I would save this wine for when the sun goes down. The higher alcohol content and bright flavors work well when decompressing after a long, busy day.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $38 ($30.40 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 400
Have you tried the Monte de Oro 2016 Vigna Vicini? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.