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 near Oakville. We have purchased these grapes for over 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 them together to forge a uniquely complex and harmonious wine that speaks eloquently of its provenance.
In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Napa Valley deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in especially small Cabernet Sauvignon berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, resulting in superbly balanced wines. We harvested the grapes for our 2009 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon between September 28th and October 9th with an exemplary balance of ripe fruit flavors, supple tannins and bright 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 2009 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon spent 20 months aging in French oak barrels, 48% new, before bottling in July, 2011.
Our 2009 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a beautifully deep, dark ruby hue and characteristically intense, youthfully brooding black fruit aromas complemented by wonderfully complex scents of earth, slate, mineral, spice and cocoa. Dense, sinewy and immensely concentrated on the palate, it offers extremely rich boysenberry, fig, wild blackberry, plum compote and cassis flavors accented by the intriguing earth, mineral and spice tones that suffuse its long, flavor-packed finish. Although this classic Napa Valley single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderfully appealing now, its incredible depth, length and intensity suggest it will develop beautifully in bottle for at least a decade.
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