It's not often that I can predict the quality of the vintage early, but given what I saw in the first wave of wines produced, I was very excited. Then the October wildfires rolled in, and that dynamic changed our ability to manage the vineyards, create the consistency that we provide our collectors, and understand the impact of smoke. Approaching the blending for Cardinale, I was very aware of the possibility of not having the right collection of base wines to create a wine that could stand as Cardinale. However, as I tasted through what had been harvested and produced before the fires broke out, I realized those wines were performing at exceptional levels. I found there was an opportunity to continue making a Cardinale wine that expressed the vintage and had the depth, length, and complexity we demand. I originally started the 2017 blend with 25 wines, and after many blending trials, finalized 16 base blends. Our Stags Leap and Diamond Mountain sources were exceptional and are the backbone of the 2017 blend. Typically, our Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder fruit provide the consistent structure, with other appellations playing only minor roles; however, I believe each component ultimately carries the balance points precisely as it should. The final blend has the signature structure and excellence of Cardinale and make this a wine that carries on the tradition at the highest level.
20 months in 100% French oak, 81% new