Tonight we found ourselves opening a 2012 Moon Mountain Zinfandel from Repris, a unique winery nestled high up on the western slope of the Mayacamas Mountain range in Sonoma. The bottle was in our Fall 2014 club shipment so we thought it was ready to drink and we felt deserving of a splurge-worthy wine.
For starters, there was aromatic red and black fruit on the nose. Then it opened with a bright burst of berry on the palate. The best part was the finish, which was spicy and velvety. It was elegant and sophisticated, which is not typically the terms one might associate with a Zin. However, this is a special Zin and not your typical everyday drinking wine. With a plus or minus $70 price tag it should be amazing!
Slowly savoring each sip, we reminisced about the sheer beauty and enchantment that defines the Repris experience. We have taken many friends and family there and highly recommend a visit for a special occasion wine tasting. After having visited hundreds of wineries in my lifetime, we thought we had seen and/or experienced just about everything out there. Until we visited Repris. This winery is one of a kind, and practically a secret. Even the winery admits many locals don’t know about it. The only reason we were clued in was that a buddy of ours, Skip, had recently been hired by Repris and encouraged us to come visit.
And the Secret Password Is…
So, several years ago on a sunny spring day, we made the short hour and a half drive from our residence to Repris. With an early afternoon appointment scheduled, we traveled along Highway 12 toward Moon Mountain Road. We slowly ascended up the winding route, past residential estates and vineyards, and eventually arrived at a gated entrance with a Repris sign so obscure we almost missed it. We followed the dialing instructions on the call box and I practically expected the voice on the other end to ask us for the magic word for entry. With access granted, we drove through the open gate and down the hill, where a large turreted building beckoned us toward the parking area.
Skip was outside waiting for us. With greetings exchanged, he walked us to a table outside, which was a solid piece of wood placed on top of two wine barrels. Delicate bouquets of flowers in mason jars greeted us. Skip handed each of us a cold glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc, which was quite welcome on this warm spring day.
Is there Milk in that Barrel?
After briefly catching up, Skip escorted us into the caves where he explained we were in the safest place should an earthquake strike (the terrain of the Moon Mountain property is volcanic rock). As we meandered through the caves, we were followed by the fearless winery cat, who promptly perched himself up on a barrel like he owned the place. We had the opportunity to taste several wines directly from the barrel. One was a zinfandel that knocked our socks off. As we exited the caves and squinted to adjust our eyes to the bright sunlight, Skip walked us over to one of several ATVs parked outside the tasting room.
Skip revved up the engine
and we were off to an incredible adventure up the mountain. As we traversed through the trees and gardens at the beginning of the ride, we were greeted with scents of rosemary, bay leaves, and other fresh, herbal aromas. Eventually we found ourselves amidst vineyards draped over the sides of volcanic rock and panoramic views of the Sonoma Valley and San Francisco in the far distance.
When we finally reached the top of the mountain, Skip brought the ATV to a halt near a large yellow canvas umbrella. We stepped out and took in the expansive view. He shared the history of the Moon Mountain property and that it used to be the former Carmenet winery, which produced the Dynamite label. This instantly brought back fond memories for us since Dynamite Cab was a splurge for us back in the day. Moon Mountain was recognized as a sub-appellation of the Sonoma Valley AVA in 1981 but has produced high quality grapes since the 1860s. Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, in particular, are two varietals the area does especially well.
With the history lesson over and our time at the top coming to a close, we climbed back into the ATV. We made our way back down to the beautiful outdoor patio of the winery, where two sparkling glasses already filled with wine and a cheese platter welcomed us back. Here, we enjoyed the next hour tasting Repris’ exclusive wines, to include the currently available vintage of the Moon Mountain Zinfandel we tasted in the caves, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a red blend. All wines were outstanding. They were aromatic with concentrated fruit, layered flavors and balanced acidity. It was certainly a day worth remembering.
Repris offers limited production wines only to members and by appointment. Our club tasting visits and club shipments over the past two years have included other interesting varietals and blends, such as Grenache, Petit Verdot, and a Merlot/Malbec blend, of which we bought futures. Wine prices for reds are about $70 and on up.
Repris also has a sister winery called Pangloss Cellars in Sonoma. I think of Pangloss as the value version of Repris. Same winemaker, great quality, but lower price point. Another winery worth a visit!