A wonderful evening with BOND

A wonderful evening with BOND

Last month, winery BOND from Napa Valley came to the Netherlands, where a dinner and wine tasting were arranged. The winery organizes these kinds of tastings every so often on location with its importers. The event was actually planned two years ago, but it couldn't take place at the time, for obvious reasons. Fortunately, the event got a green light to finally kick off on Thursday 19 May! Maximilian Kast, the Estate Director of BOND, flew in from sunny California to give us an unforgettable evening at Bistro de la Mer in Amsterdam. The tasting revolved around the new vintage: the excellent year 2018. In this blog, we will take you along on this fantastic tasting and tell you everything you want to know about this unique winery.

First, some history
BOND was founded by H. William Harlan and is based in Oakville, in the middle of Napa Valley. Actually, BOND is not Mr Harlan's first winery. In 1986, he founded the Merryvale winery together with his business partner and not much later he also started a winery under his own name: Harlan Estate. After about 10 years, it was decided to sell off Merryvale and this was the exact moment that the idea for a new winery arose: BOND. The goal was to produce Cabernet Sauvignon wines that best express the versatile terroir of the Napa Valley. Production is limited to just 450-600 cases per cuvée. This amounts to an average of about 6,000 bottles of each wine, of which 85% remains within the borders. This makes the wines very scarce elsewhere in the world. A fact we were very aware of this during this tasting.

BOND’s five wines
At BOND, the quality wines are called grand crus, which is based on the French Cru classification. The portfolio includes five grand cru wines, all of which are 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The only difference is the origin of the grapes. Over the years, BOND has worked with as many as 80 different vineyards. Max: “It took us a quarter of a century to find the best vineyards in the Napa Valley”. Eventually, five locations were carefully selected, and we now only use the best plots. Below, you will find a brief summary of the vineyards and their characteristics.

 

N° 1 Melbury
This plot can be found in the Eastern Hills of Rutherford, where the vines are planted on an old sedimentary rock bed with compacted clay. Clay has the property of retaining water, which is favourable in arid and warm regions such as Napa. The vineyard enjoys the morning sun, so the vines are not in the beaming sunlight during the hottest part of the day and it doesn’t get too hot for the grapes.

N° 2 Quella
The name Quella is derived from the German word for pristine water source. This is an important factor in this terroir. The old riverbed shaped the soil that consists of tuff, rocks, and boulders. The vines love this soil because it is full of minerals and nutrients, and it easily retains heat as well.

N° 3 St. Eden
The composition of this plot was formed by a landslide that happened many centuries ago. The volcanic rock is rich in iron, which enhances the complexity of the wine. The northern location of this vineyard ensures that the grapes are not left in the hot sun for too long.

No. 4 Vecina
Vecina is located in the western hills of Oakville. Oriented to the east, the vines enjoy the morning sun, just like the Melbury vineyard. The soil is characterized by thick rock combined with fine, alluvial deposits, which makes the ground very fertile.

N° 5 Pluribus
This is the most elevated of the five vineyards. The vines are planted on the steep slopes of Spring Mountain. This breathtaking stretch of land is defined by its volcanic soil, and it is surrounded by coniferous forests. These forests play a major role in this environment. They have a tempering effect, as well as a capacity to retain water, which is beneficial to nearby grounds.

Since the terroirs are so distinctly different, they each produce grapes with unique characteristics. And you can clearly taste that in the wines. Terroir is what it's all about at BOND and that became very clear during the tasting in Amsterdam.

“It took us a quarter of a century to find the best vineyards in the Napa Valley”. 

The year 2018
The growing season in Napa Valley started gradually and calmly. This came as a great relief for many winemakers since the year before was dominated by wildfires. Spring was cooler than usual, somewhat delaying bud emergence. The flowering period that followed was warm, without any spikes in temperature. At night it cooled down sufficiently for the acids in the grapes to be well preserved. All these conditions together resulted in good fruit setting and high-quality bunches. All in all, this is an excellent year; a vintage that winemakers hardly dared to dream of after so many hectares perished in 2017.

 

The tasting
In the brand new Juwelier - Bistro de la Mer, (owned by Thomas Groot, Richard van Oostenbrugge and Daphne Oudshoorn, who also own the Juwelier* and 212**) our guests were warmly welcomed with oysters along with one of our new champagnes: Collection Privé Millésime Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2010 by Franck Bonville.

After this welcome, the all-star cast of the Juwelier provided us with a 6-course meal that matched the wines of the evening. The first course, a Dutch shrimp salad with XO sauce, was accompanied by a Laurent Ponsot Meursault Charmes Cuvée de la Centaurée 2018. A delicious combination! Then, Max took the stage and presented us with the new BOND vintage; the year 2018. We already knew that this would be a phenomenal year, but now we could get the actual real-life experience.

First to appear at the table were Vecina and Melbury, combined with sea bass baked on bread. Tasting these two wines revealed that the Melbury cuvée is spicier than the Vecina. While the Vecina has many aromas of blackberry, cherry, and cedar, the Melbury has aromas of black currant, cinnamon, and Sichuan pepper, as well as fresher acids. Next up were St. Eden and Quella, served alongside smoked veal sweetbreads with hollandaise of walnut and chanterelle. The differences between these two wines also became very apparent. The St. Eden is more robust, whereas the Quella is more elegant with finer tannins. As well, Quella has aromas of plums, violets, and cherries, while St. Eden has a bouquet of blackcurrant, raspberry, pepper, and cloves. For the main course, we got to taste the last of the series; Pluribus 2018. This wine has a more earthy character than the other four. It really goes to show what a difference a terroir makes. We concluded the evening with Vecina 2012 and St. Eden 2012. We tasted these in combination with Dutch cheeses and Manjari chocolate. They may be 10 years old; both these wines were still very much alive. They are also a great example of the aging potential of BOND's wines. That’s very promising for the 2018 vintage!

All in all, it was a delightful evening and we got to learn a lot from Max. It also proved to us once again that BOND’s wines are of exceptional quality. We were able to distinguish between the different wines very well and we tasted the influences of a certain terroir. And now we just wait for the new vintage to arrive here!

 

Vega Sicilia
Blog by PM

Vega Sicilia

Visit blog
Interview with Michael Jackson
Blog by

Interview with Michael Jackson

Visit blog
10 Things to know about Château Mouton Rothschild
Blog by

10 Things to know about Château Mouton Rothschild

Visit blog
Added to favorites.