The long, uneven growing season produced grapes with thicker than normal skins and big tannins so during fermentation and barrel aging we were careful to avoid extracting harsh tannins. The result is a dark, muscular wine with intriguing aromas of licorice, cedar and blackberries with a hint of earthy truffles. Wonderfully drinkable upon release, the wine’s firm tannin structure promises it will benefit from aging and makes it the perfect partner with grilled steak, roasted lamb or a hearty beef stew.
Bud break came early in 2003, followed by a cool and wet spring that slowed down development. After a long, steady growing season, a few heat spikes in September accelerated ripening, which were followed by days of cool weather, so we had a stop and go harvest. We started picking individual blocks Cabernet the last week of September and we finally finished the third week of October—a span of three weeks.
2003 marks the first vintage that our Cabernet Sauvignon is estate grown—meaning we control everything from the vineyard to the bottle. Our Yountville vineyard forms the backbone of our Napa Valley blend. The Cabernet here is the Inglenook clone on St. George rootstock. Primarily dry farmed, these vines have pushed their roots deep into the rocky soil, which provides excellent drainage and creates intensely-flavored grapes. By blending wine from our Yountville vineyard with small amounts from our Rutherford and Calistoga vineyards, which are all farmed organically, we create a complex Cabernet Sauvignon with a distinctive personality.