This is a big wine—dark, dense and rich—with pronounced blackberry and blackcurrant notes, suggestions of licorice and dark cherry, and layers of cocoa, tobacco and clove.
Full-bodied, it has a richly fruited mid-palate featuring cassis and coffee, and long finish marked by fruit and spice.
Ideal conditions prevailed throughout the 2012 growing season in the Napa Valley, making for a vintage which many have characterized as classic. A timely bud break and steady flowering were followed by even fruit set and a lengthy season of warm days and cool nights. Dry weather during harvest made for excellent picking conditions, and grapes with optimal ripeness and balance were delivered to the winery. We selected the grapes for our Lot 1 Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the best sites in the Napa Valley, including Stagecoach Vineyard in Atlas Peak (45%), Stags Leap (21%) and the balance from select other sites in the valley including Spring Mountain and the Silverado Bench.
The grapes for our Louis M. Martini Lot 1 Cabernet Sauvignon were handharvested in half-ton picking bins and hand-sorted before destemming and partial crushing. The must was then gravity-fed into 3.5-ton, open-top tanks. Twenty-two percent of the blend was fermented with a submerged cap for a more gentle extraction, which created more elegant tannins. Two weeks after primary fermentation, the wine was racked by gravity into French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation.
After managing the wine as individual barrel lots through the winter and spring, we assembled the majority of the blend in June, allowing the flavors to integrate before sending the wine back to barrel for another year of aging. Lot 1 Cabernet was aged entirely in French oak barrels, 96% of which were new, for a total of 21 months.