Dark and brooding, with tremendous intensity of deep-fruit character, this single-vineyard bottling of 2014 Sleeping Lady Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon captures both the distinctive vineyard and vintage. The wine’s powerful aromas and sensual flavors are layered with notes of black cherry, blackberry, licorice, crushed granite and violet. A streak of red-cherry acidity brightens the mid-palate. With its muscular tannins and opulent texture, this wine shows a beautiful balance of power and elegance. Aging in new French oak barrels, creating integrated warm nuances of caramel and oak spice through the lingering finish.
Sleeping Lady Vineyard is named for the silhouette of the Mayacamas Mountains behind it; at dusk the outline suggests a woman lying on her side with her hair flowing to the south. Farmed by the Bettinelli family, this vineyard lies on the west side of Napa Valley in the Yountville AVA. Here, the alluvial fan soils encourage the vines to root deeply to find water. A few feet of topsoil cover a defined bed of cobblestones mixed with gravel, which provide enough stress to keep the grapes desirably small. The vineyard’s unique trellising system ripens each cluster in dappled sunlight—never in full sun or full shade—to give the tiny grapes exceptionally thick and flavorful skins, which yield a rich, highly extracted wine. 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. The fabulous 2014 vintage gave great intensity to the layered aromatics and rich, expansive palate of our Sleeping Lady Cabernet Sauvignon. This limited bottling captures the distinctive personality of a single Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard located against the western hills of Napa Valley.
Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s ripe, flavorful grapes.
We hand sorted the grapes first in the vineyard, when we picked them at dawn, and then again at the winery for optimum quality. We first cold soaked the lightly crushed grapes for gentle extraction. A portion of the wine was then fermented in barrels, with the balance in stainless steel, for early integration of oak character and to enhance the wine’s plush texture. After pressing, the wine completed malolactic fermentation in barrels to round the acidity.
French new oak barrels.