Steve and Joan Heller purchased the 11-acre Francini Merlot and Cabernet vineyards in 2009 with the goal of making small lots of elegant Bordeaux varietal wines. The 25 year-old vineyard is positioned at the easternmost edge of Sonoma County in the new Fountaingrove AVA. This highly unique AVA is distinguished by three key aspects of terroir: soil composition, climate and elevation. The soils are predominantly Sonoma volcanics, the result of an eruption of the now-dormant Mount Saint Helena more than three million years ago. The volcanic ash produced a variety of excellent, not overly rich, well-drained soils perfectly suited for growing high-quality grapes.
In 2012 the Hellers built a winery on the site and grafted over some of the Cabernet vines to Malbec, Petit Verdot and a second clone of Cabernet. This Malbec was vinified after removing some juice to increase the wine concentration. This single barrel was created by blending 75% Malbec with 25% Merlot and the contributing barrels were 25% new American oak and 18% new French oak. Since H•L•R primarily sells direct to consumer, this wine was exclusively crafted for the Barrel Auction as the ultimate expression of Malbec from one of Sonoma County’s newest AVAs
A winemaker dinner or store visit is offered as part of this lot. Must be scheduled on a mutually agreeable date and booked within a year of receipt.