The grapes for our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which
is blended with 20% merlot and 2% cabernet franc, come from more than
a dozen vineyards stretching from the cool Carneros district in the
south to the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley,
with the majority from the mid-valley Rutherford appellation. Blending
fruit from multiple clones and microclimates enables us to craft a complex
cabernet melding the bright cherry/berry fruit characteristic of Napas
cooler regions with the intense black-fruit flavors and firm tannins
typical of the valleys warmer climes.
The 2000 vintage featured a cool, even growing season
culminating in a classic Indian summer, insuring that our cabernet,
merlot and cabernet franc grapes developed fully ripened flavors prior
to being harvested at optimum maturity between late September and mid-October.
After being crushed and cold-soaked for 24-36 hours, each
vineyard lot was fermented separately, with 5% whole berry fermentation
to accentuate the wines fruity characters. Warm fermentations
in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, to fully extract color
and flavor, were completed in 7 days, with an extended maceration of
14-21 days to maximize extraction. The free run juice was then drained
and transferred to French oak barrels, 65% new. After blending in spring
2001, the wine aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling
in August 2002.
The 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon displays a dark
ruby/scarlet color and a classic Napa Valley cabernet aroma of ripe
black cherry and currant fruit. This is enhanced by well-integrated
toast and vanilla oak tones. The wines rich, elegant, blackberry,
cassis and plum flavors are beautifully structured by ripe, round tannins
and persist through a long, fruit-filled finish. Enticing now, this
lovely red will continue developing for 5-8 years and will age well
up to 12.