2014 Pine & Brown Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley California
93 points, Gold Medal, The Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, April 2017.
Composition: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon 18% Merlot 3% Cabernet Franc
Cooperage: 66% new oak, 33% once-used Aged in barrel for 22 months
Appellation: 85% Rutherford 12% Napa Valley 3% Atlas Peak 5% Howell Mountain
Brix at Harvest: 26.1 - 26.5
Titratable Acidity: 6.4 g/L
Residual Sugar: <0.1 g/L
The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley will long be remembered for a powerful earthquake that struck in the early hours of August 24th, just as harvest was starting to hit full swing. We were very fortunate that the quake hit while the wineries were closed, and the damage was largely isolated to barrel cellars near Napa.
The growing season was nearly ideal with a long string of warm days, cool nights and very few heat spikes. The previous winter was one of the driest on record in California, but heavy rains in February and March provided the vines with much needed water just as they were emerging from dormancy. The warm and mild spring led to an early bud-break and subsequent early harvest in late September and early October.
The 2014 red wines from Napa Valley are dark, deeply concentrated and show excellent depth. While the wines from the vintage have the structure to age well into the next decade, they are remarkably approachable in the near term.
The Garvey Home Ranch in the western hills of Rutherford, just above the bench, is a certified Organic block of Cabernet Sauvignon. The cordon-pruned Clone 4 is planted in rocky loam soils on a steep, low-yielding hillside block. These vines produce loose, small-berried clusters that contribute to intense berry flavors, deep color and concentrated tannins.
The Merlot and Cabernet Franc components of the blend are sourced from vineyards on Howell Mountain and Rutherford. As this wine is a nod to the Bordeaux tradition, these two varieties add dimension and complexity swith spice, tobacco and earthy loam notes.
In 2014 we opted to blend a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Muscatine Vineyard, located high up in the Soda Canyon. The fruit from this vineyard has deep blackberry flavors with big tannins that add depth and structure.
We harvest the grapes from each vineyard at daybreak and de-stem directly into one-ton open-top fermentation vessels without breaking the skins. The berries are allowed to warm gradually over several days and begin to ferment on their native yeast. We gently punch down the skins four times each day during the active fermentation and macerate the fruit for about 30 days. Aged for 22 months in 225 Liter barrels and bottled without filtration. Only 80 cases were produced.