Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Brack Mountain Wine Co - Cyprus Sonoma County Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Brack Mountain Wine Company - Cyprus Sonoma County Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

At the local Binny's, the Chicagoland beverage mega merchant, this weekend, the distributor was promoting / introducing this moderate priced Cyprus Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The branding of this wine is interesting if not mind-boggling. According to their website, the producer is Brack Mountain Wine Company. They work with growers dedicated to sustainable practices, sourcing from Sonoma County, Napa Valley, Anderson Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands. Since their launch in 2008, they have introduced more than fifteen small production, fine wine brands.

I suspect this approach provides a value added opportunity to provide winemaking and marketing services as an accommodation to the growers to get higher value from their product allowing them to focus on growing/farming - a win-win for all parties. And, if it provides quality wines targeted at appropriate price-points with economies of scale, then it should result in high QPR - quality price ratio brands/labels for the consumer as well.
 They describe their approach saying - "Brack Mountain doesn’t follow the pack. We look at things differently, and we’re not afraid to break with convention. We challenge assumptions and turn constraints into solutions. We value hard work and intellectual nimbleness, and we love a challenge."

They profess to be "a thriving winery with more than fifteen fine wine brands", with a mission to "produce age-worthy, handcrafted wines — wines that we love to drink—at every price tier". They are "Three generations. Two growers. One winemaker. Three friends." This team that shares a passion for wine has assembled to build this collection of varied brands and labels, sourced from the varied numerous sites from their locale Sebastapol in the Russian River Valley. Their plethora of brands is based on the varied sources of the grapes used in the product (s) - each brand and label associated with the source or grower of the fruit. Some of their featured brands:

  • Their most popular label, Bench wines are sourced from benchland vineyards.
  • The L’Oliveto brand is sourced from legendary vineyards in the heart of Sonoma County.
  • Barrique brand is sourced from select, low-yielding vineyard sites, these handcrafted, terroir-driven Sonoma County wines reflect the character of its cool-climate origins. Barrique Pinot Noir was featured in this blog earlier.
  • The Boatman brand is from carefully selected vineyard sites.
  • The Daniel brand "is an in-depth collaboration between winemaker and grower, each of these small production wines is carefully crafted to capture the nuanced character of these great vineyard sites. Each bottle bears the signature of the winemaker and the winegrower."
  • The ENOS brand features four different Cabernet Sauvignon labels from Napa Valley, Knights Valley, an Estate bottling from Dry Creek Valley, and a premium label from Dry Creek Valley.
  • The Fable label is "handcrafted, small production wines of rare and hard-to-find varieties sourced from passionate, devoted growers who strive to preserve the distinctive character of interesting wines".
  • Matias brand is five different labels from the Santa Lucia Highlands - "focused, elegant wines showcasing signature low-yielding vineyards and sustainable micro-viticulture from California’s cool-coastal wine regions." 
  • And this Cyprus brand provides "wines ... handcrafted in small lots from legendary vineyard sites especially designated for Cyprus wines". 
Brack Mountain offer five different varietal wines from under the Cyprus label from Alexander Valley, Knights Valley and the Russian River Valley.

This label and wine reminded me of Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with its same appellation, varietal and price point, and subsequent wine profile, which in good years can provide high QPR. 

Cyprus Sonoma County Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

The 2012 Cyprus Cabernet was dark garnet colored, medium bodied with bright tangy black berry, currant, and plum flavors with tones of cassis, cedar and graphite, turning to moderate tannins on the finish.

RM 88 points.


 The published price for this wine direct from the producer is $45. It is available through distribution at wine mega-merchants such as Binny's for $25, probably a more appropriate but reasonable value price for this wine.

Many folks purchase wines at the winery thinking they're getting a deal only to realize the winery sets the price to establish and support that price-point to establish a value point for their wine in the marketplace. Many, if not a majority of wines are typically available in distribution for less than the established published retail price, except for allocated wines, or wines that gain extraordinary ratings, both of which can command high demand for their finite supply.

As a student and practitioner in marketing and distribution, this is on one hand fascinating, on another mind-boggling. This team has done a remarkable job assembling this portfolio of wines, providing the means for growers to offer their own branding and labels for their product that otherwise might be sold in bulk or bottled anonymously, or under someone else' brand, or sold as negociant private labels.

Brack closes in saying, "At the end of the day, we produce age-worthy, handcrafted wines—wines that we love to drink—at every price tier. This is the idea behind Brack Mountain and the measure of our success."

If this wine is a indicative of their handiwork, then they have succeeded and are on target. I'll look forward to exploring some more of their brands including their premium selections.