I recently concluded my 31st harvest in Napa Valley, and in each of those years I have worked with Cabernet Sauvignon from numerous regions. You could say I’m very familiar with the variety. It is a resilient grape and perhaps not as difficult to make as some other wines, but it does have its own challenges. How do you create a wine that distinguishes itself from the pack? Great vineyards, intuition, and decades of winemaking and blending experience are the cards up my sleeve. People have come to know my signature of balance, harmony, and elegance.
Terry Wilson’s Rancho Chimiles is in the southeast corner of Napa, just south of Stags Leap, and provides grapes for some very highly regarded wineries in Napa. His Cabernet Sauvignon is typically muscular, dense and concentrated with consistent quality year after year and provides an excellent backbone for our wine.
For those who think flat and foggy Carneros, they are surprised to learn that the northern boundary of the appellation—where Truchard Vineyards are located—is quite different. Rolling hills and less fog provides an ideal environment for Bordeaux reds. The Cabernet Sauvignon from this region tends to add softness, acidity, and forward, almost floral notes to the final blend. Hang time for Cabernet in Carneros is typically longer and is generally the last fruit of the season that we harvest.
In 2007, a warm spring followed a dry winter, so budbreak came earlier, hinting at an early harvest. However, the relatively cool summer slowed things down and simultaneously allowed wonderful flavor development in the grapes. Crop levels were down, and berries small, also intensifying flavor. A heat spike in late August ramped up the harvest, but then another cool-down occurred, slowing harvest down again. Consensus—an outstanding vintage that typically translates into rich, ripe, voluptuous, generally crowd-pleasing wines.
Youthful and dark ruby in color, the briary aromas of our 2007 Cab leap from the glass. Paradoxically both dark and bright, there are hints of blackberry, cassis, tar, and rose petal. The wine is firm with ample tannin and acidity leading to cherry flavors that expand and stream across the palate. Warm sweet oak notes discretely extend the finish providing wonderful mouth-feel and no sharp edges. The wine is vibrant, hinting at longevity that I did not originally anticipate.
I am confident my 2007 Cab will evoke quite a few smiles, not to mention my ultimate goal, hearing the comment, “this is delicious!”