Friends, I have been in the winegrowing business since as long as I can remember. I am now at the age of 44 years and I can count on both hands the number of times I have coined a vintage as “great,” meaning, that the vintage is of an extent, amount, or intensity above average. When considering greatness of vintages, and I mean this purely from what happened within the vineyard, vintages such as, 1987, 1990, 1997, 1999, 2007, and 2012, all come to mind. The common thread in al of these vintages was consistency throughout the growing season that led to near perfect, and above average, crop sets in Bordeaux varieties. And, now we can include vintage 2018 as one of the greats!
The 2018 vintage is simply spectacular. This wine begins with wonderful purple color and aromatics that speak in the blue fruit spectrum. Black and blue berries, jelly jar and jammy notes fill the senses. As this wine opens up, the background notes of French Oak vanillin and earth come forth. This is true Cabernet expression. Great fruit, mid-palate, body and streaming length; it’s all in there! The palate is polished and sophisticated. Cranberry, black currant, blackberry and black cherry are all intertwined. The acid and tannin balance is promising. This wine will drink its best from 2021 through 2035.
Our Calistoga Estate “Bone Ash Vineyard” is our second of three estate vineyards we own and farm in Napa Valley. Much like our Oakville Estate and our Signal Fire Vineyard, the vines are dry-farmed, or nearly so, with vine age averaging 30+ years. The cane pruned vines are comprised of Cabernet Clones #7 and #8, these vines’ roots are established very deep which allows the use of minimal irrigation. That struggle makes for wines with excellent flavor, body and overall complexity. We employ a minimalist approach on our Calistoga Estate, with near organic processes in the farming of the property.
The fruit was hand sorted and destemmed into small, open top, stainless steel fermentors and time on skins lasted 44 days. The fruit was then lightly pressed, keeping “free run” and “press” fractions separate and aged in 85% new, tight grained French Oak barrels for a total of 22 months. While we do add yeast to finish primary fermentation, we allow the indigenous malolactic bacteria to complete the secondary fermentation. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.
“Another gem of a wine, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Bone Ash has a richer, full-bodied, concentrated style that will benefit from bottle age. More backward notes of darker currants, tobacco, chocolate, and lead pencil give way to a layered, seamless beauty that builds nicely with time in the glass, offering terrific tannins, the purity of fruit that’s the hallmark of the vintage, an expansive texture, and a great finish. Don’t be afraid to throw this in a decanter if drinking any time soon, and it’s going to have 20-25 years of overall longevity.” –96 Points, Jeb Dunnick
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Bone Ash Vineyard has a deep garnet-purple color, bursting from the glass with notes of stewed plums, ripe black currants and blackberry preserves, followed by suggestions of bay leaves, pencil shavings, garrigue and Ceylon tea. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers rich, powerful black fruit flavors, beautifully juxtaposed by compelling freshness and a firm, grainy texture, finishing long with an energetic herbal lift.” –96 Points, Robert Parker