Of the estate’s 550 acres planted to vineyard, 60% is Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in 32 blocks. Cabernet Franc is planted in two vineyards. Each block is planted to take advantage of the volcanic soil, high elevation, abundant California sunshine and long growing season. As harvest nears each vintage, the individual blocks, or rows within blocks, that best highlight the characteristics we seek for our Mountain Select Cabernet Sauvignon are selected. In 2018, approximately 12% of the estate’s 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc harvest was selected for the final blend of the Mountain Select Cabernet Sauvignon, which included eight clones from 16 vineyard blocks.
The fifth year of the California drought kept Cabernet Sauvignon yields low, yet with quality high. Weather was ideal from budbreak through flowering, providing uniform berry set in each cluster. Even temperatures throughout the summer and a warm, dry September allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and fully, resulting in varietal intensity and enhanced color and structure —the hallmark of mountain-grown fruit.
The grapes were harvested in the cool, early morning and taken to the winery. After destemming and sorting the fruit, the whole berries were placed in stainless steel tanks for an initial three-day cold soak followed by a 14-day fermentation. The new wine was removed from the skins and pumped into French oak barrels (50% new) where it went through malolactic fermentation. After 18 months in the barrel, the wine was tasted, and the final selections made. Individual barrels were blended to create this powerful, yet silky wine, with true Napa Valley mountain-grown character.