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Harvest Challenge, 2017 Gold Medal
Our Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet sauvignon is blended from superior barrels of wine from select vineyards and appellations within the renowned Napa Valley. Drawing on his experience with Cabernet sauvignon clones and his intimate knowledge of sub-appellations within the region, Anthony has created a wine that builds upon the unique terroir of Napa Valley. Our 2015 vintage is a blend of vineyards located in the Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Yountville, Oakville, Coombsville and Mount Veeder appellations.
The grapes are hand-harvested and gently crushed to retain 40% whole berries. Color extraction is accomplished via gentle cap irrigations. The grapes were drained and pressed at dryness. The free-run and press wines were kept separate. Following fermentation the wine went through malo-lactic fermentation in barrel and was then blended. The blended wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels for 17 months and racked several times to naturally clarify the wine and soften the tannins. With no filtration or fining, the wine was laid down in bottle prior to release.
Yet another year of drought conditions began with our “rainy season” ending early, followed immediately by flowering fruit trees opening up before the end of January. We received only about 75% of our usual rain. Spring was long, cool, overcast and punctuated by several windy days during flowering that badly affected fruit set. Shatter was evident in several of the vineyards we work with; by harvest, our Chardonnay crop was off by about 40% and our Syrah by 60%. Growing season temperatures were steady and warm – perfect for developing the complex fruit flavors we look for, as well as preserving the acidity necessary for mouth-watering wine. Harvest began in July, our earliest harvest date on record at BELL, and we were completely finished bringing in our red grapes by the first week October, also a record. To quote Anthony, “Young wines look to be of excellent quality with deep color and lovely fruit aromas, and initial analysis shows no serious impacts from the series of heat waves we experienced. Overall yields are down, but it is safe to say that while we will not have the expected quantity to sell in upcoming years, the quality will be exceptional.”
Our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is our finest Bordeaux blend of each vintage, hand selected from our best barrel lots. The wine opens with delightful Cabernet aromas of deep black cherry and mulled wine on the nose. Dark fruits, anise, currant and blackberry compote fill out the sumptuous palate. Intensely flavored, the layers of complexity are derived from the combination of several different vineyard sources among eight sub-appellations we harvest from throughout Napa Valley, from Calistoga to Coombsville. With Anthony’s trademark of exquisite balance, the finish is smooth and lingering, with seamlessly integrated tannins. Crafted in a rich, concentrated European style, this wine pairs well with flavorful, full-bodied meals, and will reward those with the patience to cellar it.
Varietal Cabernet sauvignon (92%), Petit Verdot (4%), Merlot (2%), Cabernet franc (1%), Malbec (1%)
Appellation Napa Valley
Harvest Date September 8 - October 7, 2015
Harvest Sugar 25.2 Brix
Harvest Acid 0.40 gm/100ml
Total Acid 0.69 gm/100ml
Aging 17 months in 100% French Oak, 63%
New Bottle Date March 2017
Production 461 cases