2017 Bootleg Red Blend, Napa
Conceived in a Rutherford cellar in 2012, Bootleg Red Blend was blended to best express its vintage in the Napa Valley outside the bounds of a given winemaking tradition—one year it might feature Merlot from Stagecoach Vineyard; the next, Cabernet from Atlas Peak. Opulent yet refined, Bootleg deftly balances hedonistic pleasure with structure, nuance and finesse. Beautiful garnet color leads into a nose of dark fruit, blueberry, chocolate, baking spices and earthy notes in the background. On the palate the wine exhibits rich round approachable tannins with great structure. Flavors of blueberry and blackberry compote, toasty oak and a long luscious finish.
2017 Red Blend Composition:
73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot
2017 Prequel Red Blend, Sonoma
Like Bootleg, Prequel Red Wine embraces unconstrained winemaking. But while Bootleg focuses on the Napa Valley, Prequel captures the best of Sonoma County in each blend. This is a fruit forward wine with medium acidity, full round tannins with an opulent density and long finish. Aromas of dark chocolate, blackberry, allspice, violets and herbs on the nose. Prequel, which released two years after Bootleg, tells the story of events preceding those pictured on Bootleg's label—a "Prequel" so to speak...
2017 Blend Composition:
59% Petite Sirah, 30% Petite Syrah, 10% Zinfandel
At Bootleg we pay tribute to the devotion and daring that inspired our forefathers: the winegrowing rogues, who smuggled vine cuttings from renowned French vineyards and replanted them in California to elevate American wine to world class status.
In their spirit, we embrace “unconstrained winemaking,” awarding our winemaker the freedom to create the ultimate expression of each vintage—outside the bounds of a given varietal, appellation, or winemaking tradition. Without rules or expectations comes the opportunity to redefine the game.
Though the recipe may change from year to year, Bootleg’s exuberant, bold and complex blends challenge convention while remaining anchored in celebrated vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma.
“I think about Bootleg as the Jimi Hendrix version of the National Anthem, unconstrained but still incredible” – Gabriel Valenzuela, Winemaker
Gabriel’s winemaking style is an unconstrained approach to make the best blends from each vintage’s best fruit without any preconceived notions.
Born and raised in California, during college Gabriel understandably found he preferred California wines for their clean, fruit-forward flavors, supple tannins, and long finishes; components which would soon define his own winemaking style. After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, Gabriel worked with winemaking teams at notable wineries such as R.H. Phillips, Napa Wine Company, Hall Wines, and Rack & Riddle before joining Bootleg in 2019. He attributes his successes as a winemaker to skill sets obtained from his diverse experiences and from the hard work and ‘team-first’ values instilled in him by the Marine Corps.
As Bootleg winemaker, Gabriel listens to each lot of grapes and adjusts all facets of the winemaking process to bring out each component and its best expression to the blend. He crafts wines that are complex, enjoyable and not overpowered by any single note.
word on the street
2017 Bootleg Red Blend, 94 Points
" The 2017 Red Blend is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, mostly from mountain sites in Napa Valley and about 11% from Knights Valley in Sonoma. Bold and punchy, the 2017 offers an intriguing combination of inky dark fruit and structure. More than that, though, the 2017 offers tons of pure drinking pleasure at a mid-tier price."
Antonio Galloni, April 2020, Vinous
2017 Bootleg Red Blend, 92 Points
"This midnight purple colored red blend opens with a black licorice and blackberry bouquet with hints of vanilla oak. On the palate, this wine is full bodied with medium acidity. It is also mouthwatering and savory. The flavor profile is a crushed stone minerality and mild blackberry blend with notes of black plum and oak. I also detected some hints of blueberry and dark chocolate towards the end. The finish is rather dry, and its dusty tannins build-up and stick around for a very long time. This wine would pair well with dry aged ribeye."
Ken Hoggins, September 2021, Ken’s Wine Guide
2017 Bootleg Red Blend, 91 Points
" The 2017 Bootleg Red Wine checks in as 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot that's mostly from Howell Mountain, yet includes fruit from Spring Mountain, Knights Valley, and Diamond Mountain. Plenty of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, cedary herbs, and a touch of chocolate all emerge from the glass of this plump, rounded, undeniably delicious 2017 that does everything right."
Jeb Dunnuck, May 2020, JebDunnuck.com
2016 Bootleg Red Blend, 91 Points
" Exploring The Best New Releases from Sonoma and Beyond The 2016 Red Blend is a gorgeous, heady wine. Super-ripe red cherry, plum, rose petal, mint, blood orange and white pepper all race out of the glass. Bold, juicy and resonant, the 2016 is an absolute joy to taste."
Antonio Galloni, May 2019, Vinous
2016 Bootleg Red Blend, 94 Points
"With a fabulous texture, full body, notable purity of fruit, and a rich yet graceful style on the palate, it's one seriously hedonistic yet balanced, complex red that knocks it out of the park. Drink this rocking little gem any time over the coming 4-6 years."
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, Jan 2020
2017 Bootleg Prequel Red Blend, 92 Points
" Seeing 20/20 – Sonoma & Anderson Valley New ReleasesThe 2017 Red Blend Prequel is a gorgeous Petite Sirah/Syrah-based blend. Inky dark fruit, spice, wild flowers, mint and lavender give this boisterous, rich wine tons of depth and sheer character. Bold and luscious, the 2017 is absolutely delicious. Drink it over the next handful of years. This is a very elegant wine considering the varieties it comprises."
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, April 2020