2018 Game Trail Cabernet Sauvignon

The Game Trail Vineyard of Mendocino County’s Yorkville Highlands AVA is nestled in the rugged mountain pass between the north end of Alexander Valley and the west end of Anderson Valley. Our small block of Game Trail Cabernet is perched at 1400 feet on the ridge line facing south. Coastal influence and large diurnal swings create small berries, thick skins, deep pigmentation, and tons of structure. We find a purity in this wine: with more acid and fore-mouth focus than other Cabernet, it is tart, bright, perfumed and refreshing.

Game Trail Vineyard - Yorkville Highlands AVA
Ten Acres of Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon
Planted at 1,400 ft elevation perched on a south-facing hillside
Coastal influence lends a prevailing afternoon wind on hot days and extremely cold nights
The vineyard is surrounded by rugged land overrun with deer, wild pigs, wild mushrooms, and oak trees
This late—bordering on fringe—growing region produces dark, concentrated, intense wines with retained acidity and relatively low alcohols
Full sun, limited water and high shale and rock content lead to reduced yields
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2018 Game Trail


Fermented in stainless steel tanks and barrel aged in neutral French oak barrels for 20 months before bottling


Red currant and blackberries jump from the glass and are balanced by supporting aromas of pinon pine and anise. This textural adventure moves from chewy to fine grained tannins to finish cleanly with a refreshingly focused fore mouth. The palate mixes the exuberance of blueberry jam with the mineral dustiness of crushed gravel. Evocative and ethereal while also structural and impactful, this is a Cabernet that develops in the glass and will yield years of beautiful expressions.


The 2018 Harvest was a grower’s dream, but it was not without its exciting moments. Spring rains encouraged healthy roots and set up great canopies. The fruit set and cluster development were flawless. Then August and September clocked in as mild, even bordering on cool. The crop’s development potentially started stalling out, but the vines kept working and the first lovely, perfectly ripe fruit was harvested in September. Early October rains soaked the second half of the crop and elicited fears of rot and fruit loss as more storms lined up. Miraculously, the storms failed to materialize, providing a long, dry October and November with beautiful sunny days which slowly ripened the remaining crop. Long seasons like these allow early tannin maturation while the cool weather protects the acid…. all leading to developed, powerful tannins with bright acid at lower than typical brix.


This wine begs for grilled asparagus, roasted mushrooms, and blistered tomatoes with boar collar or a rib roast.

This wine is included in the 2022 Spring Club Shipment, along with the premier release of Ex Marietta, the 2019 Angeli Syrah, and the 2020 Román Zinfandel. Learn more about the Marietta Wine Club here.

From the Critics

94+ Points, Wine Advocate
“Medium ruby-purple, the 2018 Game Trail Cabernet Sauvignon has intense aromas of black fruits with accents of tar, earth, iron and leather. The palate is full-bodied and grainy with broody, still youthfully wound fruits and appealing hints of gravel, mint and spice that hint at more development to come with another couple of years in bottle.” – E.B.

94 Points, James Suckling
“A full-bodied red with blackberry, black-chocolate and walnut aromas and flavors. Bark and sweet tobacco. Mint, too. Flavorful finish. Cloves and black pepper to the fruit at the end.” – J.S. 

Scot & Brian Talk Wine


Learn more about the 2022 Spring Club wines through the links below.

Ex Marietta Series 2019 Angeli Syrah. LEARN MORE>

Family Series 2020 Román. LEARN MORE>