The “textbook” growing season that marked 2018 allowed winemaker Philippe Melka to craft an array of exceptional wines that bear our lionized emblem. Starting with abundant rainfall in February, followed by a moderately late bud break and flowering; gloriously ideal conditions through the spring allowed for a plentiful and even fruit set, followed by a mild summer and fall. Under these nearly ideal conditions, heavenly hangtime allowed the fruit to accumulate delightful flavor complexity with oh-so-gradual increases in sugar…to yield a crop marked by exceptional quality and quantity.
Deep ruby in the glass, our 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet is fragrant with black fruit, cedar and rose petal. While softly alluring on the nose, the wine’s attack is assertive and vigorous, without being noisy or domineering. Concentrated notes of black cherry, boysenberry, earth, and graphite initially predominate, giving way to feints of black tea and cherry cola. Aged twenty months in 56% new French Oak, this expressive wine displays a bright acidity, chalky tannins, and a lightly chiseled muscularity all the way through to a fine, triumphant finish. Deftly potent and deceptively agile, the wine registers with immediate impact, much in the way that the Arizona Cardinals’ prodigiously talented playmaker, QB Kyler Murray continues to do…since entering the NFL after claiming the Heisman Trophy in 2018.
The backbone of this remarkable Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from Atlas Peak and Soda Canyon, an area located in southeast Napa Valley where soils are characterized by a blend of volcanic and granite-like sub-soil. The most prominent of these vineyard blocks is planted at the base of Atlas Peak on the eastern ridge of the valley, at an elevation of 842 feet. Grapes from this area enjoy both the structure characteristic of hillsides, and the rich flavors that mark valley floor fruit. Western exposure provides afternoon sun for the 2,000 vines that are densely planted in soil with extremely low fertility…which invites the vines to grow deeper roots that seek nutrients and allow for intense fruit and a softer structure.