The Three Palms Vineyard is legendary in Napa Valley. The soil of this valley-floor vineyard is full of volcanic cobblestones that have washed down from Dutch Henry Canyon in northern Napa Valley. The stones radiate heat and force the vines to struggle for water and nutrients, resulting in small-berried Cabernet Sauvignon clusters with exceptional color and flavor concentration. Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, also grown on this site, gave us the opportunity to blend other varieties for complexity while retaining a single-vineyard designation. The persistently cool 2011 vintage decreased yields in Napa Valley, but the remaining grapes ripened slowly, achieving bright, elegant flavors. For the second consecutive year, Napa Valley’s harvest was one of the latest on record. A wet winter and spring continued into mid-June, causing shatter during bloom and reducing the crop. While the steadily cool temperatures made us anxious and gave us gray hair, this wine—with its depth of flavor and ripe, muscular tannins—that this temperamental vintage produced many exceptional wines.
We hand-harvested the Cabernet Sauvignon at dawn and then hand-sorted the fruit twice at the winery. After we destemmed the clusters, maintaining 60 percent whole berries to maximize fruitiness, we cold-soaked the must to gently extract flavors and color.
Following fermentation and extended maceration, we aged the wine in a high percentage of new French oak barrels (medium to medium-plus toast) to balance this richly flavored Cabernet Sauvignon.