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Sonoma County Gazette
Tom Mackey Cellars

Favorites from 2015

Nov 21, 2017
by John Haggard, Sophie's Cellars


Following several years of drought, 2015 was a low-yield year, however, those low yields produced, in some cases truly exquisite wines. Here’s a line up I had the great opportunity of tasting from Tom Mackey Cellars who source their grapes from three Sonoma Vineyards: Monticello Vineyard, Wild Oak Vineyard and Woolard Vineyard.

Tom Mackey Cellars Cabernet 2015, Sonoma Valley

One of my favorites in the Cabernet varietal is Tom Mackey Cellars. With a production level at one hundred cases the blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Malbec and 10% Petite Verdot. Inky dark fruit flavors, plum skin, cassis, dark chocolate, hints of mint and worthy of aging, and, in fact, I would say, decant if opened within the next eighteen months for one hour or more and this wine may easily be aged if properly cellared through 2022. Pair with red meats, grilled meats such as lamb, venison.

2015 Tom Mackey Cellars Sirius Red Wine blend consists of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 30% Petite Verdot and exudes deep dark black fruit flavors: black cherry, blackberry with dark chocolate, cocoa, mint and vanilla, hints of cassis and a very low production of just sixty cases. While this wine may not have the same aging capacity as the cabernet blend, it is exceptional and ready to be enjoyed. This wine is best paired with barbequed beef.

Not to be outdone, the old vine zinfandel Monticello vineyard from Tom Mackey Cellars is blended with 80% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 10% Malbec and exhibits stunning black fruit such as black cherry, blueberry and boysenberry. Structurally this wine is probably one of my favorite 2015 Sonoma Zinfandels I have tasted to this point, and with 115 cases produced, this wine certainly will not last. While the weather may not be conducive to barbequing right now, this wine is definitely going to be the one you will want to go to next Spring. The alcohol level is a little high at 15.6%, however, this will create stability and the opportunity to lay the bottles down - plan ahead for summer 2018 and purchase a bottle to lay down now.

Another offering from Tom Mackey is the 2015 “Dog Tired” Red Wine blend, also from Sonoma Valley. This blend of 70% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 15% Malbec is probably the “huskiest” of the four wines I tasted. I still found the deep purple color and black stone fruit flavors and peppermint quite enjoyable. Also, another offering at 15.6% alcohol. With only 112 cases produced and a price point of $25, this is a great way to experience high-end wines without breaking the bank.

For more information on Tom Mackey Cellars, visit

And another Sonoma Winemaker, John Hart, re-introduced me to the 2014 Hart’s Desire Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel - and it is stunning. With fewer than 36 cases left, this Zinfandel has garnered numerous awards and a near perfect score, in my humble opinion. Lots of dark black fruit flavors, chocolate tannin, black licorice and so smooth. I highly recommend any “zin-ofile” get a bottle while they last – I found it to be absolutely stunning. Pair with chocolate. For more information on Hart’s Desire wines,

Winter Wineland

January 13-14, 2018, 11am – 4pm each day. It’s the 26th Annual Winter WINEland and perhaps this year, after the fires that devastated so many businesses and those who live and work in Sonoma County, it would be a great time to help boost the Sonoma County economy and enjoy the perfect winter escape at the same time… taste current vintages, multiple varietals grown in Sonoma County, and even try a few verticals! Meet local winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases or library wines. Ticket price includes wine tasting at all of the participating wineries. Winter WINEland does not take place at one location, travel from winery to winery, visiting the ones you are interested in exploring. For more information visit


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