Nose

The nose shows abundant red fruits, lots of bright cherry along with bramble-berries, such as blackberry, cranberry, mulberry, and framed with hints of mineral/herbal characters such as graphite, cedar, and pencil shavings.

Palate

The palate is vibrant and fresh, with light tannin and beautiful acidity. Decanting is highly recommended.

Growing Conditions

In the tradition of Cabernet sauvignon, ours includes a small amount of Merlot and Petit verdot, and is blended from seven vineyards throughout the Napa Valley. The three AVAs are Coombsville for structure and black fruit, Rutherford for savory Cabernet characters, and Oak Knoll for bright fruit. It is a Napa Cab of the old school, a blended wine, age-worthy, complex, and begging for a steak off of the grill. The 2014 vintage, despite the drought, had a mild start to the season, which made for a vibrant red-fruited wine —very different than the structured 2013 vintage. The Dead Fred Vineyard in Coombsville sits on rocky volcanic soil. It’s south-western exposure causes it to pick up heat during the day, and the proximity to the mouth of the Napa Valley keeps the nights cool. We leased it in 2012. The York Vineyard is in the heart of Rutherford, on the classic gravelly alluvium known to create the famous “Rutherford Dust” character. We leased it in 2013. The Helen’s Gate Vineyard is the home of Arthur Berliner and Marian Lever. It sits on an east-facing hill along Whitehall Lane in the Rutherford District of Napa Valley. We planted the vines in 2009. The Red Hen Vineyard is on rocky alluvium next to Dry Creek, in the Oak Knoll District. Cool breezes and dry rocky soil combine to create structure and ripe fruits. The Bengier Vineyard (formerly Vare) is also on Dry Creek, in the Oak Knoll District, but on gravelly soils in the mouth of the canyon. The cool air drainage and short fall days as the sun is blocked by the redwoods result in light aromatic wine. The MATTHIASSON Vineyard is on loamy alluvial soil on the west side of the Oak Knoll District, just south of the Red Hen Vineyard. It is the coolest of the vineyards, receiving morning fog and afternoon sea breezes most summer days.

Winemaking

The fruit was fermented at low temperatures and pumped over twice per day; we don’t strive for a high rate of extraction, instead choosing to preserve the freshness and high-toned aromatics. Since the fermentation temperatures were cool, the fermentation was long and slow, lasting for three weeks.

Aging

The wine was pressed at dryness, blended immediately, and aged for 20 months in a combination of mostly used and a few new barrels (<20% new French oak).