The expansive aromas and flavors exude sumptuous blackberry, black cherry, bramble berry and cassis, layered with nuances of rum raisin, roasted espresso bean and crème brûlée.
There are also hints of anise and an elusive chaparral note that reminds us of an August hike in the golden California hills. This wine is multi-dimensional with incredible layers, depth, persistence and complexity.
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated grapes and high quality. February’s rains brought the total rainfall up from low to adequate, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak in spring and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook the valley on August 24.
We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s ripe, flavorful grapes. The perfect weather throughout harvest fostered intense, beautifully balanced and expressive wines.
After blending, we bottled this perfectly balanced wine without fining.
We hand-sorted the grapes on tables twice: first as clusters to remove any leaves or inferior fruit and then, after destemming, as individual grapes. A portion of the must was fermented in new French oak barrels to integrate the tannins and enhance the plush texture of the wine. Three to five days of cold soaking before fermentation, followed by extended skin contact, developed the rich varietal character. Bâtonnage (stirring) during malolactic fermentation in the barrel rounded acidity and softened the tannins.
Three rackings during barrel aging naturally clarified the wine.