-5-CaliforniaPacific OceanSan FranciscoNapa ValleyMayacamas MountainsVaca MountainsCarnerosOak KnollRutherford★How do you approach the dierent varietals and wines?Malbec: We planted Malbec in Carneros in 1988 with the intention to add nuance, colour and character to a Bordeaux style blend, and as such it does a wonderful job. It provides a sharpness in the overall Cabernet blend, but stands well on its own. I never thought it would become as popular as it has. It is a very unique tasting wine, but very flavourful without being really tannic so it is easy to drink at a younger age. Cabernet Sauvignon can require more bottle aging to soften up, but Malbec is pretty ripe from the start, it is just a question of getting it stabilized before it can show its best. Generally it is a small proportion in blends, 3-5%, with Cabernet Franc 10-15%, and also Petit Verdot which is 1-3%. Our blending is all done by taste ‒ we put different combinations together based on what the raw material shows, taste it blind without knowing which is which, and make our selection based on what our target would love best. Blending is enjoyable but hard work.Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Franc tends to be more aromatic, with more a fruity and herbaceous character, not green bean. It is a food wine and we use in our Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged in barrels, and racked to achieve clarity. Its profile is not as phenolic or tannic as Cabernet Sauvignon, a bit more red and more nuanced than Cab Sauv which is more purple, a bigger wine, very flavourful, a bigger hammer. However, both play an important part and they work really well together. Merlot: Merlot has gone through various stages where it became very unpopular but I think Merlot and especially Merlot in Carneros is some of the best wine in the Napa area. In some years it is even better than a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon, a very great and special wine. People can’t ignore it for too long because it is so good. We have 6-7 acres of Merlot, we make 300-400 cases in a good year, and as little as 50-100 cases.Jazz: Jazz is a special blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It came to the table when we looking for something more approachable and an intro into the wine list where people could start in, explore and learn about blends which are fun because there is more space for the artistry of blending. Samantha created the picture on the label, and the name was inspired by the music ‒ there is a lot of improvisation and it is fun to be around. Each vintage you come to the drawing board with different aromas, flavours and nuances. While there is a variance in the blend in each vintage, there is a definite style we want Jazz to be. Release dates also vary. We are limited by how much fruit we pick each year to make Jazz, and that dictates how quickly we go through it and release the next vintage. Right now we are on the 2015.McKenzie-Mueller Cabernet Franc 2013Origin: Napa Valley, CaliforniaVariety: Cabernet Franc 98%/Merlot 1.2%/Malbec 0.8%Alc. 15.4%RRP ¥7,000From an outstanding Napa vintage, made predominantly from fruit from the Oak Knoll vineyard planted in 1974. A deep purple, with aromas of juicy cherry, a hint of true and earth, and smooth and subtle oak spice. The palate is bright with nice juicy red fruit, great structure and a mouthfeel that tempts you to come back for more. McKenzie-MuellerCabernet Sauvignon 2014Origin: Napa Valley, CaliforniaVariety: Cabernet Sauvignon 86.8%/Cabernet Franc 11%/MMalbec 2.2%  Alc. 15.1%RRP ¥8,700Dark ruby in colour with aromas of oak spice and creamy chocolate with oral notes. Notes of pepper, blackberry, and earth are in balance with the brighter raspberry and cherry that show on the mid-palate. Without any harsh drying tannins, it is very elegant with a silky texture. Bottled after 36 months of aging, with no lters. Just 303 cases produced.CODE11019CODE10804Growing grapes and making wine is not inexpensive, but you want to keep it in the realm of being reasonably priced, and we like to think of ourselves of making great wine and still keeping the price within reason for the consumer.◆How do you time releases from your wine library?We have always liked aged wine so it has always been important for us to develop the cellar, to have that inventory, so we can watch and see how it evolves and ages because they really do get better with time. If we get low on something we like to switch to the next vintage as long as it is tasting good. It also means we have to keep a lot of inventory.◆Looking to the future with Samantha. How did you come into the family business?I grew up in the winery and vineyards. It is a good place to learn, you get to work when you are young. I went away to college, and got a degree in creative writing. I started coming back full time in 2012 and doing more, and in the last few years I have been learning a lot in all parts of the business in every vintage. I basically went from college to the winery. Bob: The goal is the next generation will take over. My family has been in the Napa Valley since the late 1800s, and though I am the first to do winemaking, I would love to see it continue, and Samantha has a lot of interest in it so hopefully that grows.Village Cellars was first introduced to Mackenzie-Mueller by George Hendry, a fellow producer we work with in Napa Valley. Both Hendry and Mackenzie-Müller are family-owned Napa growers and were close to Robert Mondavi. When we first visited McKenzie-Müller 15 years ago, we were impressed by the time Bob took to carefully introduce each of his wines. We look forward to his daughter Samantha continuing to supply us with wonderful wines in the future.《From Village Cellars》

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