Bonterra The McNab, McNab Ranch Vineyard, Mendocino County 2020

Deep ruby color; blackcurrant, cherry, fig, chocolate on the nose; black cherry, raspberry, blackcurrant, plum, chocolate, mint, toast on the palate.

Bonterra The McNab, McNab Ranch Vineyard, Mendocino County 2020

Dry; fine-grained tannins; bold, full-body, but smooth easy drinker for a wine of this weight. Moderate acidity. Blend of McNab Ranch cabernet sauvignon and 20% petite sirah and likely a smattering of other Bordeaux grapes. Improved by decanting. 14.2% ABV

The McNab ranch is located in a box canyon and was a sheep ranch before it was converted into a vineyard—thus the sheep on the label. This is the flagship Bonterra offering. On the website, senior winemaker Jeff Cichocki notes: McNab Ranch is Bonterra’s home, so it’s important to us that this wine is the best representation of the high standards we have for quality. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the natural beauty of this ranch, so we try to make a wine to honor this.”

Bonterra vineyard and pond
Bonterra winery

Bonterra is a label of Chilean wine giant Concha y Toro. Concha y Toro acquired the winery in 2011 when they spent $238 million to purchase Brown-Forman, best known for Fetzer Vineyard but also owner of Bonterra Vineyards. The new owners upped the Bonterra game, and wine scores for McNab—if you put any stock in wine scores—have steadily improved since the purchase.

Bonterra admirably focuses on organic and sustainable agriculture. “We plant native flowers around our grapes to attract beneficial bugs, and welcome songbirds and chickens into our vineyards to eat up the pests,” they announce on their website. “We even employ sheep to mow between the vines. In our vineyards, every living thing is connected and we all work together to create pure, flavorful wine.” Bob Blue is the founding winemaker. Dave Koball is the vineyard director. Sebastian Donoso is the winemaker of this effort.

Biodynamic tools at Bonterra Winery

Bonterra not only commits to organic and sustainable, they also go the extra mile into biodynamic farming, sometimes called voodoo viticulture, but—regardless of the facile put-down—biodynamic consistently produces quality wine. The Bonterra website explains: “systems function together to create a single living organism: the farm as a whole. We farm our Biodynamic ranches striving to achieve this ideal with as few external inputs as possible. Biodynamic farming is a holistic view of agriculture with high awareness of the interconnectivity between earth, plants, animals, humans, the moon and planets.”

Bonterra The McNab, McNab Ranch Vineyard, Mendocino County 2020 is bold but smooth and easily approachable. This is the flagship offering of organic and biodynamic-focused Bonterra, a world leader in this strongly trending method of grape growing and winemaking. The McNab features rich red fruits but does not flaunt tannins and excessive fruitiness. Reserved, velvety tannins with demurely balancing acidity. A big California red wine for those intimidated by big California red wines.

Pair with red meats—steak, roast, Porterhouse steak, ribeye; wild game; rabbit; lamb; pork chops; pork tenderloin. Cheese—semi-hard, aged cheeses; cheddar, aged gouda, gruyère, gorgonzola. $52-60

Click on the link to the Bonterra website below to get a more complete appreciation of Bonterra and its commitment to biodynamic farming practices and biodynamic in general. Also, there are other very interesting video links.

Bonterra website

Bonterra and organic/biodynamic farming video

Bonterra and organic/biodynamic farming video

Bonterra dining & wine room
Bonterra Vineyards founding winemaker Bob Blue
Senior Bonterra winemaker Jeff Cichoki
Bonterra Vineyard director Dave Koball