Sometimes, when researching a particularly fascinating wine query, or a singularly obscure vineyard offering, one just has to go straight to the source. Cue Mr. Paul Draper!
“I am delighted that the 1981 Cabernet from the Tepusquet Vineyard in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County was showing well.
We have produced the Monte Bello Cabernet in every year from 1962 to the present, but declassified it only in 1966, 1979 and 1983. We made cabernets from outside vineyards in those years.
Starting in 1971 with the Eisele Cabernet (now Araujo) from Napa Valley, we attempted to learn what other vineyards and regions could produce if we used our traditional methods in fermenting the wines. We have made cabernet from Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, Bradford Mountain in Sonoma, Mount Madonna in the Santa Cruz Mountains and in 1981 from a hillside vineyard in Mendocino as well as the Tepusquet. All of these were one year or two year experiments. Of course, the excellent York Creek cabernet from the Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley was a wine we made for many years.
Our conclusion was that as interesting as these wines were, the individuality of Monte Bello was the most distinctive and as the replanted parcels, abandoned during Prohibition, were now mature, we no longer needed to buy cabernet grapes from outside the estate.”
And that’s the scoop! Mystery solved!