I was invited to attend a wine luncheon in Fort Lauderdale where Michael Trujillo Director of Winemaking and President of Sequoia Grove Winery would be in attendance taking a group of wine enthusiasts on a tasting and informational tour of the winery and its wines. Trujillo embodies his brand as the talent behind the winemaking, a passionate and enthusiastic ambassador and an overall wine aficionado.
Sequoia Grove Winery is located in the Rutherford Bench of Napa Valley and produces some fine Cabernet Sauvignon indicative of this AVA (American Viticultural Area). Rutherford Bench is an area defined by the distinct flavor characteristics it breeds in Cabernet Sauvignon. The Chardonnay grapes are sourced from Dijon and Wente clones grown in the Beckstoffer, Haire and Ghisletta Vineyards in Carneros.
Michael Trujillo’s focus is on artisan, small-lot operations. Trujillo via Sequoia Grove has imparted a philosophy to make balanced wines that are elegant, and age worthy. Trujillo’s beliefs for oak aging be it American or French oak, are seen as instruments for [wine] development and [wine] evolution rather than a mechanism for flavor. Sequoia Grove wines are Bordeaux-style showing true varietal expression, of structure and balance with a New World, California approach.
The luncheon was held at the waterfront restaurant Coconuts in Fort Lauderdale, which made the overall experience all the more picture perfect. As part of the wine tasting Trujillo brought along barrel samples, of 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Cabernet Franc used for the Red Blend in the Sequoia Grove portfolio and as single varietal styles. The purpose of this exercise was to simulate a winemaker blending experience of getting it “just right”.
Napa Valley Chardonnay ($28) Not old school California Chardonnay, oaky, buttery, big and round but more of the “new guard Chard” with soft lemon curd, and green apple with the slight notes of almond and toast, finishing long and enjoyable.
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($38) This California Cab does the dance of traditional dark, and smoky with chocolate, ripe blackberries and sweet cherries on the nose. While the palate is seductively smooth and rich with ripe, round tannins giving the wine a full spectrum of Napa Valley flavors of blackberry and a hint of smoky, sweet oak.
Cambium ($140) is the pièce de résistance of the Sequoia Grove portfolio and Michael Trujillo’s baby. The wine is exquisite, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Cambium is a limited-production wine blended from the finest lots, barrel-aged for two years and bottle-aged for an additional two years before its release. With all the attention paid to wine making and ageing detail, this wine shows off its Bordeaux best with California inspiration and vision. Classically, Cambium has its aromas of black pepper and black cherry, gravel, and a hint of violet. Also faintly in the mix are subtle blueberry and cranberry notes, cedar and walnut. On the palate the wine has a beautiful reach of flavor, with cherry and pomegranate, and cocoa powder and espresso.
Click here to view more photos from the luncheon