Vintage 2016 followed the small 2015 and was also less challenging than 2015. We had a warm, wet spring followed by mild weather at flowering which set a healthy crop size. The growing season was excellent with warm, sunny days and cool nights. The tiny berries were packed with color and flavor and while fermenting, our 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon lots were deeply colored, richly textured and thus showed great promise.
At harvest, clusters were field-sorted and then hand picked, and then at the winery hand-sorted (berry-by-berry) at an average of 24.6 Brix. Cold soaking for 3 days in open-top temperature-controlled fermenters developed color and flavor (in the absence of alcohol). Fermentation began spontaneously with prevailing yeasts and one daily punchdown kept the cap immersed in must, extracting superb flavor and structure. After inoculation with cultured yeasts and twenty-nine days on their skins the must was gently pressed into French oak barriques at about 5 brix where it completed fermentation. One Oakville District Merlot lot was used, adding really nice mouthfeel and mid-palate. Barrels were 100% French, 30% new, three-year air-dried, medium-plus toast and hand-bent by Cadus and Francois Freres in central France. Thirteen months barrel maturation with only one racking and one organic egg white fining integrated flavors and developed its wonderfully smooth mouth-feel.
100% French, 30% new