Miro Cellars

2008 Mountain Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon •Silverwood Vineyards

California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley

Offer Expired:May 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Its uncanny, its mountain grown!

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit our friend Miro and retrieve his 2008 Alexander Valley Mountain Grown Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Miro Cellars

Wine Subject: 2008 Mountain Grown Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Miro Tcholakov


Alexander Valley in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but recently people are starting to discover its Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Chardonnay as well.

Today’s wine was grown at the Silverwood Vineyard, a 2200 mountain top climat on Pine Mountain above the Russian River and Alexander Valleys.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Densely garnet with deep garnet purple reflections through its clear core and along the edges. When swirled, widely-spaced slow medium-thick legs cling to the side of the glass and show hints of color.

Smell – Rich and plump aromas of black fruit including blackberry, black cherry, ripe plum and brambly-blackberry mingle with earthy, oaky and sweet spice aromas. Hints of smoke, subtle leather and green herbs also linger on the nose.

Feel – For being relatively youthful (being sure to give this wine some time to open up), this wine is rich and round with finely textured firm tannins, soft acidity and a distinct mountain minerality.

Taste – Ripe and generous blackberry, black cherry and other dark berries, but balanced by both its deep mountain structure and its other complex flavors that includes subtle earth, sweet spice and oak, herbal and floral hints.

Finish – The rich and ripe fruit and other complex flavors linger for about a minute and while they fade, the textured minerality and mouth coating and drying tannins linger making the mouth water for another sip.

Conclusion – Once again, our operative favorite Bulgarian winemaker has handcrafted a winning Alexander Valley classic. The 2008 Miro Cellars Mountain Grown Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is full of great aromas and flavors with a textured and generous mouth-feel. While certainly youthful, this wine is drinking fine now and will cellar for at least five years, probably more. We paired this lovely wine with grilled bison rib-eye steaks and charred spring garlic drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with red pepper flakes.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Miro Tcholakov

DATE OF BIRTH: February 4, 1966

PLACE OF BIRTH: Trojan, Bulgaria

WINE EDUCATION: Higher Institute of Agriculture, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, UC Davis, SRJC

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Dry Creek Vineyards-1990-1999 as Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Master, Trentadue Winery-1999-present-Winemaker/VP of Production, Miro Cellars-2001-present. Also consulted and continue to consult for a few other small projects domestically and abroad. Currently serving on the Board of Directors for ZAP and “PS I Love you” organizations

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Freedom of Expression”- meaning for Miro wines I source only vineyards that are interesting to me in regard of geology, soil types, location, grape growing styles, grape grower…etc. Not being confined to an “Estate” vineyard gives me the freedom of choice. If the vineyard does not deliver I move on. Great wines can be made without blue blooded heritage and a Chateau in the foreground.

SIGNATURE VARIETAL: So far I made my mark with Petite sirah for the Miro brand, with my other jobs I have done very well with other varieties and blends. In general I’m very fond of perhaps the only two varieties that California has claim to fame as truly “heritage” –Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. But, I am so pleased with my inaugural Pinot Noir! It turned out beautifully.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Well I’m not sure what do you consider Highlight but if you mean wine scores I have a few 90 points and above from Wine Enthusiast, Parker, Wine Spectator, Connoisseur Guide, California Grapevine, top picks in New York Times, USA Today, and hundreds of Gold medals and Best of Class and a few Sweepstakes from wine competitions that matter.

I have met and tasted my wines one on one with Michelle Rolland (without paying for it) if that is considered an event but I found that to be very interesting. I have been on the pages of few wine publications. Once Dan Burger put me on the top 20 winemakers in the country…
There is probably more that I don’t remember…

MIRO QUOTE: Just drink it-it is only wine!

AGENT RED: Greetings, Miro. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.


RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

MIRO: I don’t think that there was any specific event-wine has always been part of our life back in Bulgaria. We made every year about 1000 liters and manage to drink most of it before the next harvest. Wine has always been part of the life circle, just like making cheese or jam or tomato sauces. We also made grappa every year. My grandfather Mariano was the initial inspiration and the first hand source of winemaking knowledge.

RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?

MIRO: The real winemaking I learned during my first years at Dry Creek. I’m not done with the learning by any means yet. Back in Bulgaria we made the wine in the most pure way possible. We rarely used even sulfur! No additives and none of the modern gadgets-just grapes and barrels.

RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?

MIRO: Don’t play with the wine just because you know how. Only intervene when you absolutely have to and you are sure of the outcome. Always pay attention to the details all the time. Everything you do to the wine-matters!

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

MIRO: Well I don’t think there is just one person-it is more of a collective of people and styles. I do not believe that I have a particular style per say-I just try to get out of the grapes the most from every vintage-and that would be different every year.

RED: How long have you been making wine?

MIRO: Legally? Commercially –this harvest was my number 20!

RED: Who do you make wine for?

MIRO: I guess I can say that first I want to be satisfied with the wines I make and of course it will be great if a lot of people including media like them as well. Otherwise I’ll have a lot of wine to drink by myself…

RED: Tell me, what makes the Alexander Valley so special?

MIRO: The temperature inversions during the growing season and the relatively poor soils consisting of mostly decomposed rocks and abundant sunshine make some very special and distinctive wines

RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?

MIRO: You have to love the job. If you are in it just 8 to 5 don’t even think about it. If the love and passion are not there you will be just a booze maker. Also you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of time and long days and hours away from the family.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

MIRO: Bottling and blending, also detail tasting through the 2010 vintage.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today

MIRO: The 2008 Miro Cabernet is from Silverwood Vineyard located nearly at the top of Pine Mountain-soon to be the newest sub appellation in Sonoma County. The vineyard is planted at 2400 feet elevation well above the fog of the Alexander Valley and the Russian River below. The long sunny days and relatively warmer nights produce age worthy wines with distinctive exotic wild berry aromas and massive but soft tannins.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

MIRO: I love this wine with skirt steak and wild mushroom and brown rice risotto.

RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know.

MIRO: I wanted to be a MD back in Bulgaria but my girlfriend talked me out of it.

RED: Thank goodness for us fans of your wines! What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?

MIRO: Rhone wines for sure. I even make one for a winemaker called Cuvee Sasha a GSM-simply delicious without all the pretence.

RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?

MIRO: Think of them as $100 bottle of wines and you will not be disappointed. I hate the cliché but they are “affordable luxury”.

RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?

MIRO: I would like to try again the 1927 Château D’yquem.

RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?

MIRO: Have I been connected to KGB? The answer is –perhaps!

RED: Our intel reports were correct, then! Thank you so much for your time, Miro. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

MIRO: Thank you! Wine Spies days are always very exciting around here. Your customers are well-informed – and they know good wine.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Miro Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Ripe red cherry fruit with traces of fine herbs. Still awfully young; better in 2014-2018. Dan Berger’’s Vintage Experiences

About This Wine:

This relatively young vineyard is planted nearly at the top of Pine Mountain at 2200 feet elevation above the valley of the Russian River. The moderate temperature inversion at that altitude supports softer, richer tannins in the wine, concentrated wild berry aromas and enhanced varietal specific flavors of dark fruit, slight earthiness and subtle spices. 190 cases made.

About The Winery:

MIRO Cellars searches the region for the finest grapes from a variety of vineyards to make their one-of-a-kind specialty wines. Award winning winemaker Miro Tcholakov considers the particular geology and seasonal climate variations of each vineyard when selecting the most interesting grapes the region has to offer. Because Miro has complete freedom to make precisely the wines he loves best, the results are a spectacular leap above the expected.

Let yourself in on one of the best kept secrets in wine today—MIRO.

Technical Analysis:

Appellation: Alexander Valley

Production: 190 cases

Alcohol: 14.5%

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