Marlstone is Sonoma’s first Bordeaux-style blend. Born in the ‘70s, it continues to be one of our favorite wines year after year.
Clos du Bois is a premiere winery in Sonoma. They farm top vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Knights Valley and Alexander Valley. Grapes for Marlstone come from Alexander Valley, known in recent years for producing superb Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Alexander Valley is one of the warmest wine growing areas in California during the day, but a wide temperature swing cools the grapes at night. Proximity to the Russian River provides fog that blankets the vineyards in the early morning until burned off by the sun.
Marlstone Doesn’t Jump The Shark
Six separate barrel lots make up the final blend of 2008 Marlstone, three of Cabernet Sauvignon and one each of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The individual barrels were then blended and aged in 84% new French oak for 24 months.
In the glass, this is a muscular wine. In retrospect, this could have used an hour or so of decanting. In the glass, the wine is a deep garnet, almost inky. On the nose, there was a light aroma of spice. As we sipped the wine loosened up in the glass. We had this bottle after dinner with some Manchego cheese, which also helped soften the tannins.
On the palate there is leather and juicy dark berries. Layers of flavors become more apparent the longer you sip. The full body is supple and smooth leading to a wonderfully long finish.
When I purchased this in 2012, my cost was $32, based on a half-case split with our good friends. While the 2008 vintage is no longer available, the current 2014 vintage is available for about $60.
Not only is this a superb wine, but a great value – costing much less than an equivalent blend from Napa.
When it comes to red blends, make mine Marlstone!