We craft our Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon from four special blocks of vines – each planted to a different clone – grown in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands in the Oakville AVA. We have purchased these grapes for 30 years, and they have consistently produced superb, long-lived wines. Each block is hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fruit’s fresh, pure character, and fermented and barrel-aged separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, we blend the four together to forge a uniquely complex and harmonious wine that speaks eloquently of its provenance.
The topsy-turvy 2008 growing season seesawed from heavy rains in winter to drought conditions in early spring to severe frosts in late March and throughout April. Coupled with inclement weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the grape crop throughout Napa Valley, greatly concentrating flavors. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, provided ideal conditions for the full maturation of our Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which were harvested between September 25th and October 11th with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.
Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs traditional artisan winemaking techniques to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin from our Vine Hill Ranch fruit. After the grapes are crushed, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked for 48 hours prior to initiating fermentation with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, three-week maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. In all, the 2008 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon spent 22 months in French oak barrels, 48% new, prior to bottling in August, 2010.
Our 2008 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon boasts marvelously fresh, high-toned and complex aromas of blackberry, fig, floral spice, mineral, earth, flint and cocoa. This beautiful bouquet introduces intense, densely textured and finely focused black fruit flavors that track seamlessly across the palate and culminate in an extremely long, supple and fruitful finish enhanced by bright acidity and savory dark chocolate tones. Possessing deep reserves of fruit, classic structure and the inimitable personality of a truly great vineyard, this stunning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, from a small-yielding, but fine vintage, will age beautifully in bottle for a decade or more, although it drinks beautifully now.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Vine Hill Ranch, Oakville
Harvest Dates: September 25-October 11, 2008
22 months in French oak, 48% new