We craft our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes grown in a range of prime vineyards stretching from the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley to the cool Carneros district at its southern tip. Sourcing fruit from a variety of microclimates enables us to fashion a rich, complex Cabernet Sauvignon blending the opulent black fruit character and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer microclimates with the brighter fruit and crisper acidity of Napa’s cooler districts. In 2005, approximately 94% of the grapes came from warmer up-valley vineyards with 6% from the Carneros district.
In 2005, a warm late winter spurred early bud break, but cool, wet, spring weather set back vine development. Atypically cool temperatures continued throughout the summer, which slowed ripening and prolonged the growing season. Fortunately, warm, sunny weather in September and October brought the harvest to fruition in fine fashion. Due to the early start to the season and its late conclusion, the grapes for our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, which includes 10% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, enjoyed a long hang time on the vines, developing concentrated flavors at moderate sugar levels. We harvested the fruit in October with ideal sugar-acid balances.
After crushing and cold-soaking the grapes for 24-36 hours to enhance extraction, the juice from each vineyard lot was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, at warm temperatures, to fully extract color and flavor. Fermentation completed in approximately seven days, but the wines macerated on the skins for an additional three weeks to maximize color and flavor extraction and enhance tannins. The free run juice from each lot was then drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 35% new, for aging. In spring, 2006, the lots chosen for our Napa Valley bottling were blended and subsequently aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling in July, 2007.
Our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a fascinating mélange of aromas, including ripe black fig, blackberry, cassis, caramel, and mocha. On the richly textured palate, the wine’s intense black fruit flavors take on brambly spice, roasted coffee and dark chocolate tones, leading to a long, savory finish. Firmly structured and packed with layers of luxurious flavor, this lavishly endowed Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a treat now with grilled red meats and other hearty dishes, but will develop beautifully in the bottle for another 5-7 years.