92 Pt Vintage: 2017 Saracina Vineyards Atrea Old Soul Red Blend Mendocino

What are your thoughts on California red blends? We fully understand that over the past decade or so there’s been a trend to create mid-price, bold, sweet flavor bombs that seem to sell well. While we’d never disparage anyone's palate, those are not the California red blends we aim to bring you here at BHW. The red blends we choose to bring you are on the dry end—elegant and thoughtfully made—like today’s wine that’s one of the best north coast wines we’ve ever come across.

A blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan, and Malbec, the 2017 Saracina Vineyards Atrea Old Soul Red Blend Mendocino comes from vineyards located along the Upper Russian River in northern California’s wine country. Saracina’s 400-acre ranch includes sustainably farmed vineyards, 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, and beehives. It’s a welcoming place for local birds and wildlife. When the land is taken care of this thoughtfully, you can be sure the wines are made with the same thoughtfulness.

The 40 acres of vineyards on the property are located in a blessed terroir, with soils composed of rocky to black clay and gravelly loam, and weather with humid winters and hot summers, the perfect combination for luxurious and unique wines. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina from founders John Fetzer and Patty Rock who launched the winery in 2001. Taub works with Saracina’s brilliant winemaker Alex MacGregor whose experience includes working in California in Dry Creek Valley, and internationally in countries like France, Spain, New Zealand, and Australia

This red that comes from this blessed terroir is flat-out delicious. Wine Spectator, when it scored the wine 90 points, predicted it would drink best from 2021 through 2026. Now that the wine is that window, we can confirm, it’s in its prime and ready to drink or hold on to for a few more years.

It’s full of savory wild herbs and blackberry cobbler notes. On the palate, it's rich and dense, with blue and black fruits that linger through its long finish. Open it with something smoky, like ribs or beef brisket, and the pairing will sing. 

While Atrea Old Soul is more elegant and refined than the sweet California red blends we mentioned up top, crazily, it doesn’t cost all that much more than those mass-market bottles. BHW has this thoughtfully made red blend at a generous 46% discount, bringing it to under $23 a bottle. We’re a little stunned we can offer it at this price, but we’re also very happy we can do so because as we mentioned already, it’s one of the best north coast wines we’ve ever come across, making this one of the most incredible values we’ve ever come across. 

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