2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2002 is the type of vintage where our many years of vineyard and winemaking experience really pay off. A generally cool growing season followed by high heat during harvest offered a considerable test of our skills. Thanks to good decision making along the way, our 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is balanced and distinctive, and reflects this unique vintage.

After a generally cool summer, we forecast the crush to begin “late average”. Then we had an extended period of heat which required us to pick portions of vineyard blocks and even partial rows to ensure the grapes we harvested were sufficiently ripe without allowing them to become over-ripe. The fruit’s high quality and character are a testament to our diligence in selective picking and the individual nature of the vintage. The cool growing season contributed classic structure and nicely balanced acidity, and the heat at harvest intensified the grapes’ dense, ripe fruit flavors.

Our winegrowing team has been working for a number of years to improve the quality of our Napa Valley Cabernet through selective vineyard acquisition, improved barrels and cooperage, the creation of caves behind the Chateau to accommodate longer barrel aging. Equally important is the very careful styling in the cellar to achieve a fine balance between structure and approachability. With each harvest we continue to refine our techniques; in 2002 we redesigned our grape receiving system and added new equipment that is gentler on the fruit throughout crushing and de-stemming. All of these inputs and advances come together beautifully in this vintage.

vintage weather

Cool Variable. Rainfall was right at average for the season, but most came in November-December. A challenging vintage with a generally cool growing season, lack of spring rain and excessive heat at harvest. Vine stress and very small berry size led to a very low yield crop, especially in Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are concentrated with good flavor and balance

tasting notes

This wine has a rich, dark color and a classic Cabernet aroma, with currants, red and black fruits, as well as the black tea and licorice notes typical in warmer vintages. The warm cinnamon tone in the background is from the 20% new oak barrels used this year. The big, juicy palate is powered by the same fruits as the nose, layered with spicy notes from the oak. The vintage's slightly high acid levels give the wine brightness, showcased in a medium weight style with good density and grip. The 2002's mix of warm, ripe fruit and classic acid and tannin structure make it a delicious Cabernet now and for many years to come.

Harvest Date Cabernet Sauvignon September 20-October 18; Merlot September 16-20
Sugar At Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon 22.7° to 25.2° brix; Merlot 22.5° to 25.3° brix
Blend 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot
Barrel Aging 18 to 20 months
Bottling Date Spring 2004
Release Date Summer 2005
Cases Produced 8,800