Our single-vineyard Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from several special blocks of grapes grown in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. We have been purchasing these grapes from Vine Hill Ranch owner Bob Phillips since 1981, and they consistently yield exceptionally intense, concentrated and complex Cabernet Sauvignons that annually rank among Napa Valley’s finest.
In 2004, a balmy late winter, consistently warm spring and summer temperatures, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in the earliest Cabernet Sauvignon harvest in Napa Valley since 1981. The early budbreak, combined with light crop loads, produced grape clusters with small berries and intense, concentrated flavors, resulting in wines of great depth, concentration and structure. The grapes for our 2004 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested with a superb balance of ripe fruit flavors and fresh acidity between September 4th and September 17th.
We utilize traditional artisan winemaking techniques with the Vine Hill Ranch fruit to ensure the maximum extraction of color, flavor and tannin. After crushing the grapes, the juice is cold-soaked for 48 hours before fermentation is initiated with a cultured yeast strain. In 2004, we used a single French strain that enhances mid-palate texture, depth and intensity. After fermentation completed, and the wine enjoyed an extended maceration on the skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins, we gently drained the free run wine from the skins and aged it in French oak barrels for 22 months, 63% new, before bottling in August 2006.
Our 2004 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon boasts intense, concentrated aromas of dusty black fruits, ripe figs, violets, dark chocolate, warm baking spices and minerals. The big, concentrated palate delivers impressively deep, expansive flavors of cassis, black fig, spicy blackberry, and chocolate with an intriguing streak of minerality asserting itself in the long, firmly structured finish. Although this powerful, single-vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is difficult to resist now, especially with grilled red meats, it will cellar beautifully for another 8-10 years.