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2016 was an extraordinarily epic vintage. It was the fifth consecutive outstanding vintage, and at the time of harvest, we thought it was the best of the decade. All of our fruit slowly matured and ripened, containing the proper phenolics that we strive to have every vintage. We had a decent winter, which meant that we had more irrigation water and more control of hang-time on the vines. With more hang time came more complexity and character, creating more balance in the vineyards. With a total production of 562 cases of the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, this elegant powerhouse all hails from highly-esteemed, volcanic Napa areas such as the Pritchard Hill area, Howell Mountain, Atlas Peak, and our very own Rockwell Ridge estate vineyard (35 feet below Howell Mountain). We’re honored that this wine recently won GOLD at Texsom (back-to-back years!), arguably the most prestigious wine competition in the country featuring 19 Master Sommeliers and 16 Masters of Wine on their judging panel.
With a total production of only 228 cases, the 2016 Russian River Valley (Old Wente clone) Chardonnay comes off with another hedonistic style, with big boldness, and Cabernet-lover’s delight. Similar to previous vintages, it is still unfined, unfiltered, and using native yeast, but the difference is that in this vintage, Ralph Hertelendy brought Phillip Corallo-Titus (winemaker at Chappellet and Titus) into the Chardonnay program (you’ll notice that both Phillip’s and Ralph’s signatures are now on the back label). Phillip brought that modern Napa style into this process and introduced a brighter acidity and different style of complexity than Ralph had in year’s past.
The elegant 2016 Signature Mountain Blend hails from highly-esteemed volcanic Napa areas such as Pritchard Hill, Howell Mountain, Atlas Peak. It’s the closest wine in the Hertelendy program that could be called an “Estate wine” with most of the blend coming from Rockwell Ridge Estate vineyard located 35 feet below the Howell Mountain AVA. Dubbed by many over the years as “The Petrus of Napa Valley”, this wine recently won GOLD AT TEXSOM for the first time — arguably the most prestigious wine competition in the country featuring 19 Master Sommeliers and 16 Masters of Wine on their judging panel.
This Rose' is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon from our vineyard on Howell Mountain and 2% Refosco. This blend is a creation of flavors of pomegranate, strawberry and cranberry. The fully bodied Rose' has a great finish with bright acidity and a hint of tannins.
This gorgeous 2015 Cab is dense and concentrated, starting with very dark ruby color in the glass. Aromas are Napa Valley at its best - layers of ripe berries, cherries, red currants, and toasty refined French oak accents. Open and expressive, with velvety and explosive flavors across the palate. Blackberry-like ripe Cab flavors with amazing silky textural tannins and a persistent long finish. Power packed concentration from this low production vintage. Already delicious upon release, and will surely be an appealing wine for collectors - its powerful structure and rich flavors ensure this wine will be a favorite for years to come.
Baking spice, marmalade and rich cherry pie layer the mouthfeel. Ripe fig, tobacco leaf, and a slightly smoked meat quality in the finish. Round and supple with velvety tannins. Good structure should reward aging over the next decade.
The 500 Chevaux is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: muscular, naturally more tannic and built to age yet with a plush and polished mouthfeel and lingering finish.
This voluptuous and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon shows rich aromas of blackberry and creme de cassis that evolve into notes of violet and and wild berry liqueur. Hints of espresso and dark chocolate with soft, savory notes of cigar box unfold in the background. The wine is opulent, with firm structure and radiant tannins.
The 2017 “Improvisation” displays an entirely opaque, dark purple-black core with hints of magenta on the rim. The nose is enticing and powerful, showing off intoxicating liqueur notes of créme de cassis and kirsch, alongside ripe black cherry, blackberries, fresh-picked violets, cacao, baking spices, vanilla and coffee bean, tobacco leaf, and crushed stones. The palate is full-bodied and mouth-coating with immense layers of dark fruit that are unabashedly rich and ripe. All this, however, is proportionately balanced by waves of persisting freshness and a touch of acidity that keeps it from entering a sappy / cloying territory that many “Cult Cabs” can’t seem to shake. This forward style wine will drink at its finest over the next 5-7 years with proper storage, but it is delicious right now and needs no further aging to enjoy.
The first vintage of Downbeat Chardonnay is sourced high up in the Mayacamas Mountains overlooking Napa Valley on Bald Mountain Ranch . This special vineyard produces a Chardonnay that is light and refreshing with notes of baked brioche, hazelnut, apple, nutmeg and vanilla. Lemon leads on the palate with warm apple pie and cream. A clean mineral finish of chalk and limestone leave a light impression and you wanting for more. Pairs perfectly with a bright salad, chicken, fatty fish or any nutty cheese.
The 2014 Cabernet Franc is another striking wine from Bennett Vineyard in Coombsville. Enticing aromatics meld into a core of intense, flamboyant red. Varietal notes come through, but at present the new French oak is a bit dominant. It will be interesting to see how things shape up as the 2014 ages. Drink 2016-2020.
Dark, powerful, and juicy, with terrific fruit intensity from start to finish. Black cherry, chocolate, plum, licorice, and spice infuse this pliant, super-expressive wine. The near-perfect 2016 growing season started early, saw ideal weather conditions throughout and wrapped up as the valley's first significant fall rainstorm arrived on October 14. Thanks to a relatively steady and mild July and August and then a series of warm days at the end of the growing season, vineyards were able to progress to perfect ripeness. Wines from the 2016 vintage are now quietly developing in cellars throughout Napa Valley and vintners are pinching themselves and smiling for the gift it appears Mother Nature has given them: a fifth consecutive vintage of stellar quality Napa Valley wines.