An alluringly deep-set ruby in the glass, the 2013 vintage of this remarkable Cabernet invites studied comparison with its acclaimed predecessors. A mélange of black licorice, delicate sage, and dried porcini mushroom coyly greets the nose, as a hint for what comes next. Indeed, boysenberry, black mission fig, anise and cocoa powder play off one another, with an additional suggestion of graphite and black pepper noticeable as the wine graduates to a most satisfying finish. Aged 20 months in 40% new French oak, the wine is lightly muscled with smoothly grained tannins throughout … demonstrating a nimbleness and precision that bring to mind the great welterweight champion, Sugar Ray Leonard, or, perhaps in a different riff, the incomparable Les Paul, picking with abandon across his legendary solid body namesake Gibson electric guitar.
Much of this Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from the Caldwell Vineyard in Coombsville, an area of southeast Napa Valley where soils are characterized by a unique blend of red volcanic soils and clay. The vineyard is planted on a gently sloping plateau, and the comparatively temperate climate of the area, versus the warmer territory up valley, serves to lengthen the growing season. The grapes are allowed to achieve full ripeness without the pressure of heat extremes common in warmer areas, and low vigor soils throughout the vineyard create small, dense clusters. With the addition of vibrant dark fruit from our preferred vineyard sources in Soda Canyon and St. Helena, the resulting wine is expressive and evocative.