It had been a long time since we tasted wines from Gemstone. The wines were originally made by Philippe Melka when Paul and Suzie Frank founded the winery. After Amy and Adam Dornbusch acquired the 16-acre vineyard along Silverado Trail in Yountville in 2008, they brought on Thomas Rivers Brown to be their full-time winemaker. Shortly thereafter, they decreased production to focus on producing wines at an elevated level. Gemstone’s ‘Alluvial’ is named after the unique geological feature prominent in the upper blocks of our vineyard. The rich volcanic alluvial deposits from nearby Pritchard Hill create the rare micro terroir from which this wine is produced. The grapes were hand-harvested, double-sorted and cold-soaked in stainless steel for 7 days before beginning whole berry fermentation for 18 days. The wine went through secondary fermentation in French oak barrels, assuring a balanced integration of fruit and oak. It was barrel aged for 20 months in 80% new French oak including Baron, Darnajou and Taransaud and then bottled, unfined and unfiltered. This 2018 is powerful and richly layered, with notes of blackcurrant, cassis, dark chocolate, spice, and leather. Full-bodied, the palate delivers layers of flavors and textures, and a lingering finish with vibrant acidity to balance the silky tannins. This expressive wine will age beautifully for 20+ years.