Our 2006 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from five specific blocks of grapes – each planted to a different clone – in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. We have purchased these grapes from Vine Hill since 1981, and they consistently yield exceptionally intense, concentrated, long-lived Napa Valley cabernet sauvignons. The blocks are hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fresh, pure character of the grapes, and also fermented separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, the wines are blended the following spring to ensure a complex, harmonious wine.
In 2006, a wet spring delayed budbreak and set back vine growth through June. A hot spell in mid-July quickened vine development and sugar accumulation, but August brought a return to cooler temperatures, which persisted through the balance of the growing season. This mild, classic late-summer and early-fall weather pattern allowed for slow, even ripening of our Vine Hill grapes, which were harvested on October 23rd and 24th.
Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks utilizes traditional artisan winemaking techniques with our Vine Hill fruit to ensure maximum extraction of color, flavor and tannin. After crushing the grapes from the various vineyard blocks, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked 48 hours prior to being fermented with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances mid-palate texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, 20-day maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. The 2006 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, blended in March, 2007, spent a total of 27 months aging in French oak barrels, 50% new, prior to bottling in April, 2009.
Our 2006 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon offers fresh, deeply concentrated aromas of ripe blackcurrant, dark cherry and wild blackberry fruit, with whiffs of cocoa, earth and mineral adding dimension and intrigue. On the palate, the wine’s remarkably focused blackberry, cassis, cherry, plum and dark chocolate flavors persist and expand throughout a long, fruitful finish, with mineral tones adding length and refreshment. A big structured wine, with full firm tannins, bright acidity and a core of intense fruit, this exceptional Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will profit from up to a decade of bottle aging, although Vine Hill enthusiasts may be hard-pressed to resist it now.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Vine Hill Ranch, Oakville
Harvest Dates: October 23-24, 2006
27 months in French oak, 50% new