Positioned in the heart of Napa Valley, the Rutherford appellation enjoys sun exposure, climate and soils well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon. The significant percentage of new barrels wove oak complexity through the dark-fruit flavors. While this wine’s dynamic tannin structure promises excellent aging potential, it is approachable in its youth, especially if decanted.
Barrel Aging: 22 Months, 94% French Oak, 4% American Oak, 2% Hungarian Oak (27% New Oak)
Varietal Composition: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot
“A big and more typical Napa Cabernet Sauvignon with currant and dried fruit character. Some chocolate, too. Full body, juicy fruit and a flavorful finish. Drink now.” - James Suckling, December 2017
The Rutherford appellation, located in the heart of Napa Valley, provides the climate and soils that are especially well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon. Our 2014 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon reveals its provenance with deep berry expression and seductive savory notes. Complex nuances of rum raisin, warm berry compote, black licorice and sun-warmed rose surround the core of blackberry and cassis. The expansive flavors culminate in a finish warmed by dark chocolate and oak spice from new barrels. The integrated, cocoa-powder tannins—a signature of Rutherford dust—enhance the opulent texture and firm structure, as well as giving cellar worthiness.
Our Cabernet Sauvignon’s “sense of place” comes from selecting the vast majority of the grapes from three outstanding vineyards in the Rutherford American Viticultural Area. These are our estate vineyards, Hewitt and Wildwood, and one that we purchase, which is Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III. Georges III and Wildwood vineyards are located on the eastern side of the appellation, while Hewitt vineyard is located on the western benchland near our winery. The balance of the blend comes from several of our favorite vineyards in Calistoga and Oakville.
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. 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, favorful grapes.
After hand harvesting the fruit, we hand sorted the clusters and then, following destemming, hand sorted the individual grapes to assure the highest quality. To gently extract opulent color and flavors from the skins, we cold soaked the partially crushed grapes for three days. Two to three weeks of post-fermentation skin contact—the length depending on varietal and vineyard personality—developed varietal expression. In-barrel malolactic fermentation rounded the mouthfeel and small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot broadened the spectrum of aromas and flavors.