[review] This July was one for rule-breaking—we decided to forgo the white and rose wines of summer and get back to a bottle of earth shattering cab. We found just that in the 2009 Round Pond Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a memorable bottle with an even better story.

Round Pond Estate, owned and operated today by the second generation of the MacDonnell family, is a Rutherford farm and winery that specializes in the creation of pure, expressive wines, artisan foods and unforgettable experiences—all from the heart of Napa Valley. For nearly a quarter century, the family has been growing some of the finest winegrapes in the heart of the Napa Valley’s acclaimed Rutherford region. Home to some of the most famous American vineyards, and some of the most coveted Cabernet Sauvignon fruit, Rutherford is widely recognized as one of the great viticultural regions of the world. That’s why we keep coming back and back…Rutherford never disappoints.

We had a chance to taste and chat with Round Pond’s CEO, Miles MacDonnell, about the winemaking philosophy and family history at Round Pond—she told us “To make our own highly-rated, handcrafted wines, we combined two generations of winegrowing experience with the same artisan attention to detail we have learned are essential parts of crafting world-class olive oils and red wine vinegars. Our goal is simple – by remaining true to time-honored traditions we bring you the best the Napa Valley has to offer.

We originally began making wine to become better growers. We’ve always been passionate about wine, and we wanted to understand fully the intimate connection between what happens in each vineyard micro-block and what happens in the cellar. After our first vintage, we became excited about the winemaking side of things and what we could accomplish with fruit from our family estate.”

Rutherford vineyards and wildflowers at the Round Pond Estate

Rutherford vineyards and wildflowers at the Round Pond Estate

Every gourmet item created here is defined by its freshness, purity and the meticulous care that goes into making them—it reflects the passionate, hands-on approach from soil to bottle. All the fruit is organically or sustainably farmed and hand-harvested. Ryan, part of the brother-sister team that runs Round Pond, told us “Working the land, especially a great piece of land, is not about bending it to your will. Through a passionate process of experimentation and refinement, for more than a quarter century, our family has strived to help this magnificent property evolve and achieve its full potential. As our home, and the center of our family life, over the years we have grown to know Round Pond intimately – we have discovered its complexities, learned its secrets, and coaxed fruits of rare quality from its rich soils.

My brother Miles and I grew up at Round Pond. We played in the vineyards and learned respect and appreciation for the land from our mother and father. Today, as managing partners, we are proud to continue their hard work with an eye to the future. Offering a second generation of energy and dedication, we have focused on the creation of our family’s estate wine program, and the production of artisan gourmet foods from the abundance of Round Ponds’ orchards and vineyards. Still guided by the practical wisdom and aesthetic vision of our parents who maintain an active relationship with the land, we strive to craft products of unparalleled quality, while nurturing our home.”

It shows in the gorgeous 2009 Reserve that we couldn’t get enough with. Taking a magnifying glass to the Estate, the Reserve Cabernet comes from the most expressive blocks in the vineyard and from the best lots in the winery. The aromatics on the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon are a perfect representation of the vintage, with a heady perfume of black forest cake, tobacco leaf and prosciutto as well as accents of cedar and allspice. Complex and layered, big, chewy and dense, the dark fruit profile of this wine has surprising finesse and balanced acidity. The palate displays flavors of Bakers chocolate, espresso and candied cherries complimented by just a touch of vanilla. It’s a wine built to age, so try to resist and stock up while you can. It’s Napa Valley in a bottle.