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Vineyard Ruminations - In an oft-recounted tale from the early days of the Jonata ranch, a French consultant was hired to tell us what grapes to plant on the property and exactly where to plant them. After days spent scouring the 600-acre property, we were told that in lieu of planting the Bordeaux grapes we had our hearts set on, we should instead plant asparagus. This wine has always represented our defiance ("El Desafio!"), our uprising to that challenge. In the vintage year we've produced our loudest rebellion to date, an inky wine that's the polar opposite of the weedy, lean wines that this consultant believed we would struggle to produce. On the wine - In this bottle of Desafio, we've produced what I consider to be the definition of Jonata cabernet: in the glass it displays classic cabernet notes of cassis, tobacco, cedar, subtle smoke and dark chocolate. There is a distinct earthiness to this blend that creates a great counterbalance to the immense fruit evident everywhere on this red. Plush and soft on the attack, the Desafio envelops the palate in silky black fruit and liquid minerality. Its formidable nature becomes even more evident as the cascade of tannins begins, coating the mouth with legions of firm, but incredibly fine grained tannins-a textural ride on the palate. For all of its ripeness and voluminous fruit, this wine remains sincere not only to the earthiness and complexity of cabernet sauvignon, but also to the unique cool climate of the Jonata terroir.
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