Palumbo 2015 Sofia's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Palumbo 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery/Vineyard: Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery / Sophia’s Vineyard
Product/Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2015
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Nick Palumbo

Rating: 91

How They Describe It

Our estate wines are produced from the original vineyards directly surrounding our small, family run winery located in the Temecula Valley AVA. This bottling of “Sophia’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the vines planted on the day our daughter Sophia was born. Like its namesake, this wine is spicy and full of life with an intensity an depth of character worthy of the vineyard designation.

Live well,
Nicholas & Cindy Palumbo

How I Describe It

The Palumbo 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has a deeply intense ruby red hue, with a prominent gradient leading to the rim of the glass. The wine was only lightly filtered prior to bottling, and it shows with intense sedimentation.

A delicious berry bouquet begins with black currant, strawberry, kirsch, and plum. These blend superbly with lavender, eucalyptus, and violets. Subtle spice and herbaceous notes include sage, dill, and olive brine. Undercurrents of vanilla, toasted coconut, mahogany, and leather accompany the pastiche.

Flavors from the Palumbo 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon begin with black currant, blackberry, plum and cherry, followed immediately by toasted wood, pencil lead, pipe tobacco, black pepper, and dark chocolate. Dill and olive brine make a small contribution. Emerging leather and forest floor, with a hint of truffle, point to the wine’s age-worthiness.

The wine is dry, with somewhat high alcohol (14.1% ABV). High tannins build over medium acid. The 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cabernet has a full body, but is far from overwhelming or “chewy”. Flavor intensity is medium-plus, as is the finish.

Why is This Wine Special?

First, let’s touch on how cool it is for winemakers Nick and Cindy Palumbo to name a vineyard after their daughter, Sophia. Great wine is great, not matter how you slice it. But an original story next to great wine makes drinking a bottle of it absolutely delightful.

Next, there’s an aspect of the 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which makes it unique next to other Cabs we’ve reviewed: its level of sediment. This wine throws sediment like it’s nobody’s business, and it can be a little jarring in the glass if you’re not prepared for it.

To be very clear, though, sediment in most red wines is not a bad thing. While sediment can be gritty if consumed in large quantities, it is not harmful to your health. More often than not, sediment appears for two reasons: (1) the wine is very old, and (2) the winemaker did it on purpose to make the bottle more suitable for aging. The latter applies here.

Bottling red wines with minimal filtration has become popular with many small-batch wineries across the globe. Since red wines are fermented with the entire grape — as well as seeds and often stems — it’s common for tiny particles to remain suspended after fermentation finishes.

Often, wines go through a two-stage filtration process to clarify it and remove any particles. However, a growing movement believes leaving some of these particulates in the wine adds richness and body, imparts terroir-specific flavors, and generally makes wines more age-worthy. Such is the case with the Palumbo 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

When & How I Would Drink It

So, what is the best way to serve a high-sediment wine like the 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cab? First, sediment settles over time, so if your bottle has been sitting on its side for a while, stand it upright for a day or two to allow the particles to settle at the bottom. Second, if you have a decanter, now is the time to use it. Slowly pour the wine into the decanter, stopping when you begin to see sediment appear in the neck of the bottle or in the decanted liquid. Shine a flashlight upward at the bottle if you’re feeling extra fancy.

If you’re in a hurry, pouring the wine through a coffee filter or cheese cloth will also remove large particles.

However, if you still get sediment in your wine, or if you don’t have time to decant or let the wine stand upright, it’s no problem. Within a couple minutes, whatever sediment made it into your wine will settle at the bottom of the glass. Personally, I treat it like espresso grounds and drink around it. But, really, it’s harmless if you do take in the entire glass.

One of the reasons Cabernet Sauvignon is so popular is how well it pairs with food. As with other high-quality Cabs, pair the Palumbo 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard with grilled meat and rich, savory dishes.

How to Get It

Order Online: Call (951) 676-7900 for availability.

Bottle Price: Call for details

Cases Produced: 127 cases

Have you tried the Palumbo 2015 Sophia’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.


  1. Ed

    Hi Arron,
    Thx for the review. I own 2 bottles of this wine. Would be real helpful if you can give me your best estimate of drinking dates. THX again,Ed

    1. Aaron Saltzman

      Hi Ed. Thanks for the comment! The answer depends whether you’re storing your bottles in a wine cooler/cellar, or if it’s being stored at room temperature (e.g., a closet or pantry). While the wine has already matured for over half a decade, the high tannins and heavy sediment leave a lot of room for maturity. If stored in a closet/pantry, I would open between 2022 and 2025. If storing in cool, controlled conditions like a cellar or cooler, I’d give it until 2027-2030.

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