intense, complex, high-toned aromas of Bing cherry, brambleberry and spicy dark plum fruit mingled with enticing floral, sage, tobacco, chocolate, earth and mineral scents.


Incredibly pure and focused on the palate, its beautifully structured wild cherry, ripe fig, spicy black fruit and dark chocolate flavors reveal a pronounced minerality in the wine’s long, persistent finish

Growing Conditions

In 2004, an unusually balmy late winter, consistently warm spring and summer temperatures, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in the earliest Cabernet Sauvignon harvest in Napa Valley since 1981. The early budbreak, combined with light crop loads, produced grape clusters with small berries and intense, concentrated flavors, resulting in wines of great depth, concentration and structure. Our Dancing Bear grapes were harvested between September 6th and 16th with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity.


Our Howell Mountain grapes possess deeper color, higher acidity and more tannin than our valley-grown fruit. As a result, our winemaking approach with Dancing Bear is to capture the distinctive, intense character of the fruit without extracting overly aggressive tannins. To do so, we carefully monitor fermentation temperatures and the ‘cap’ of skins at the top of the fermenting tank, whose contact with the juice determines the degree of tannin extraction. Winemaker Julianne Laks carefully manages these processes during fermentation and maceration (the period after fermentation when the wine remains in contact with the grape skins), tasting the wine daily to assess tannin levels and ‘mouth-feel’. When Julianne senses the wine has achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, we drain the free run wine from the skins (no ‘press wine’ is used) and transfer it to French oak barrels for aging. The 2004 Dancing Bear was aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 45% new, prior to bottling in August, 2006.

Food Pairing

Pair with steak, braised meats, ribs or roasts.