Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma is one of my favorite regions for Cabernet Sauvignon. This is partially due to my inclination to rebel against the overwhelming snobbery of its big brother next door in Napa - but also due to the fact that for a fraction of the price, you can get phenomenal vintages from more unique, often boutique wineries where the winemakers are approachable and willing to talk about why they love what they do. While Napa has priced out all but the wealthiest winemaking families and is now essentially controlled by historic families, corporations, and celebrities - there's still a sense of innovation at work in Sonoma. This includes the story of father and son team, Wayne and Samuel Jordan who are building Red Bear Winery.
Note - this is different than Jordan Winery which is also based in Healdsburg and Alexander Valley, in Sonoma California. We love both companies for different reasons :)
Bottles burst with brilliance at Red Bear Winery, a black-owned venture nestled in the heart of Sonoma's Alexander Valley. As you switch your focus from traditional wine labels, it's impossible to ignore the diversity and fresh perspective that wineries like Red Bear bring to the table. This is happening throughout the country in different industries, but it is even more remarkable to be a part of the phase shift in an industry like wine that continues to evolve, stay fresh, and, while there are ebs and flows ... maintains its position as something cultures around the globe have celebrated for more than 5,000 years!
It's not just about changing the color of the hands that cultivate the vines, but also the unique flavors and experiences that are born from this blend of cultures and influences. Just as waves of Germans and Italian immigrants leveraged new world opportunities along with their old world knowledge and experience ... we're seeing this again today where Black, Mexican, and Indiana winemakers in California are redefining what luxury wine looks and tastes like. This is more than just emulation; it is about expressing their personality and unique story in a glass.
About Alexander Valley AVA
Delving into the heart of Sonoma County, you'll find the Alexander Valley AVA, a viticultural area with a rich history dating back to 1843. It's also the epitome of wine tourism in Sonoma County. With over 15,000 acres of vineyards managing to meticulously to produce some of the best wines in the country, it is no surprise that some of our favorite vineyards are located here, including Jordan Winery, Alexander Valley Vineyard, and Peche Merle (non-vineyard winery).
Climate characteristics play a crucial role here. Located only 25 miles from the coast, Alexander Valley AVA experiences some of the largest fluctuations in temperature in Sonoma County, making it an ideal climate for a robust Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sonoma Wines are also a global leader in sustainable practices and these are central to vineyard management in this region, ensuring the preservation of this fertile land for future generations of winemakers. This is a region that more people should be paying attention to since it, for me anyhow, represents the future of American premium wine production.
Now, let's take a look at Red Bear Winery ...
About Red Bear Winery
Red Bear Winery, a black-owned establishment committed to producing high-quality wines and simplifying wine education for both connoisseurs and laymen is located in the heart of Alexander Valley. Its winery mission is rooted in the belief that wine should be accessible to all, creating extraordinary memories with its full-bodied taste.
Red Bear was founded by Wayne and Samuel Jordan after Wayne purchased the T Bar T vineyard in 2015. His history of real estate development, community involvement, and support for urban revitalization in Oakland, combined with travels to Europe, set the foundation for what would, in 2018, become Red Bear Winery.
It is their goal to create fine wine that can be enjoyed anywhere and not limit the product to more conservative limitations that we are challenged by in this industry. with regards to pairings.
Tasting Notes For Red Bear 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon
As we move beyond the historical and operational details of Red Bear Winery, let's immerse ourselves in the sensory experience offered by their 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon. We paired it with our rib roast for Christmas eve, alongside garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. It frankly surprised me. I've had far too many bottles from new vineyards where the best I can say is that I look forward to trying them a few years from now :)
Here though, with Red Bear ... for a pair new to the industry on only their third vintage ... they've hit it right!
The flavor profile is expressive, full-bodied, and balanced. While I usually prefer something lighter with my prime rib - for instance, a pinot noir because the rib roast tends to be more tender than other beef cuts, Red Bear Cabernet Sauvignon filled the gap between this and more conservative choices such as bolder cabs that have higher tannic concentration.
What we have here is something that is very drinkable, even without food. Generally speaking, while I love TASTING big, bold tannic cabs ... it's difficult to drink them without food. There are plenty of luscious fruit flavors in the glass that folks like me who love flavor will appreciate. This includes black raspberry, mulled blueberry, dried cedar, and chocolate-covered cherry, which come through without being overpowered by tannins.
The addition of Cab Franc also lifts the florals and adds an exotic perfume to the mix.
The 2020 vintage is a testament to Red Bear Winery's commitment to producing unique, quality wines. It's not just about the wine, but also about creating a sense of belonging, a community of wine lovers who appreciate the diversity and richness that Red Bear brings to the Sonoma wine scene.