I am attracted to wines that are elusive, the ones that keep drawing you back to discover something new. You could say that is my inspiration for our Napa Valley Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Powerful Cabernet Sauvignon is a relatively easy wine to make in Napa Valley, but in our quest for nuance and complexity, we present our Napa Valley Red. This is the wine where the winemaker’s intuition and 35+ years of blending experience come into full play.
One of the regions of Bordeaux that attracts me the most is St. Julien. I find the wines typically graceful and elegant. Although Cabernet Sauvignon typically provides the backbone, a third or more is usually made up of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
My sources for Cabernet Sauvignon are two outstanding organic vineyards, one on Howell Mountain and the other in St. Helena. For our Merlot and Cabernet Franc we head south to Carneros. The cool region beautifully elevates the personality of each of those varieties. When Merlot is “correct,” it offers one of the most pure and satisfying wine drinking experiences. No wonder it has crept up as a higher percentage of the blend.
We were rewarded with another outstanding vintage in 2014—in fact I just checked my notes and my comment on the final day of harvest, “sensational!” Sunshine and a warm dry spring gave way to mild and ideal growing conditions throughout the summer. An uneventful growing season without extremes is always welcome. Harvest began early and finished early, avoiding the potentially cool and rainy autumn conditions.
Our 2014 Napa Red—a twelve barrel selection--is an ode to true elegance. Dark ruby and youthful in color, the nose offers black cherry, dried herb, and ripe plum with a background of sweet oak weaving it all together. The mouth captures our stylistic hallmarks—structure, liveliness, and balance. The wine is integrated and harmonious, finishing with an appropriate amount of grip. It is poised for graceful aging.
Our 2014 conjures up visions of the wonderful 2012 vintage which coincidentally and unintentionally has similar blend components.