Vintage Notes: Rattlesnake hill is a small rocky knoll on the estate, located at 2050 ft elevation on Spring Mountain. The hill’s position allows optimal sun exposure while being above the fog line. Since the inception of this wine in 1991 we have sought out only the very best of our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon on Spring Mountain to complement its complexity. We work diligently in the vineyard and the winery on keeping all our small lots separated. We then examine these lots for complexity, intensity and power to match the hill. Only these small estate lots that are deserving come together to form our proprietary top tier, Rattlesnake. 2018 was exemplary, showing what a perfect season in Napa Valley and on Spring Mountain can provide. The vintage was a great balance of impeccable quality with an above average quantity. It was a hot but milder summer than in 2017. Fall was a winemaker’s dream of consistent warm weather without heat spikes or rain spells.
Wine maker notes: When harvested, the small estate lots were cold soaked for 2-3 days, fermented in small bins and tanks, and punched down or pumped over 2 to 3 times a day. The maceration times were 17 to 18 days. A little longer on average due to the looser skins. Once fermentation was complete the wine was pressed off into 90% new French oak barrels for aging. The wine has been racked three times during its near two-year maturation time in the cellar.
Tasting Note: In 2018 we had perfect conditions on Spring Mountain. The color of the wine is a beautiful dark purple at the core with a crimson rim. Immediate dark chocolate and coffee jump out of the glass, as well as blackcurrant puree and fresh blackberries. Underlying elements of eucalyptus, gravel and pepper spice complement the licorice and nutmeg spice. This is a very lush velvety wine on entry. The dark berry fruit is very pronounced, with other flavors of peppercorn and mocha. The sizeable tannins are in a chalky complex form that are matched by the acidity and demand cellaring. This beautiful and substantial wine will age amazingly over the next 15-17 years (2035-2037).