The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville is sourced from the Tierra Roja Vineyard in Oakville East.
Drive the Oakville Cross Road to the Silverado Trail, directly look forward and up. This is Tierra Roja, a small four-acre jewel of a hillside vineyard. Great neighbors – Backus, Screaming Eagle, Maya and Rudd. The vineyard is dotted with big rocks, and the soil is definitely roja (very red). You might expect the wines to be massive, but they are very perfumed, dark, and complex – more like Screaming Eagle than neighbor Dalla Valle.
A barrel selection from both the gentle slope and the steep hillside terraces of the Tierra Roja vineyard. As for all of our Cabernet Sauvignons, the individual lots were fermented on skins between two and three weeks in small tanks, matured for twenty months in new Taransaud and Darnajou barrels, then bottled without fining or filtration.
Our first Oakville designate Cabernet is an auspicious debut, classic Oakville East with its pure cassis, cherries, raspberries, licorice, dark chocolate, espresso, violets, dried Mediterranean herbs, and warm red rock minerality. Sumptuous yet fresh, with a fleshy, juicy mid palate and ripe, chewy tannins. Just a lovely Cabernet to drink, now and for the next 15-20 years.
It will be one of those vintages that will be discussed for decades to come. The wines we made are beautiful, and the Chardonnays are our highest scoring whites to date. Our Cabernet family wines are reflective of great vintages, and the early barrel scores reach into the 100-point range. These reds have excellent extract, layered, downright sexy wines that have the structure to live a long time. I taste the wines and marvel. It was a very wet spring, over 30 inches of rain in January and February alone. Spring bloom and set went smoothly and we rolled into the summer with heat spikes in July, late August, and early September. By early October all the Chardonnays were in and the Cabernets where reaching optimum maturities. We dropped a lot of fruit in 2017, a cluster per shoot in To Kalon, and in part because of this, we had all our fruit in by mid-October. Then came the fire, which had no influence on our wines, but changed all our lives. The wines themselves are rays of sunlight when I reflect on 2017.