The 1998 ripening season forced vintners to evaluate the maturity of fruit from a very unfamiliar perspective for most. The cycle began with a late bud break followed by a generally cool, overcast and rainy spring. Summer weather seemed to come and go in mid-June and the remainder of the season brought continued cool conditions.

Patience brought its reward as the fruit was allowed to hang late into the cool fall months. The Cabernet harvest began during the second week of November when the fruit maturity was deemed ripe on the basis of seed and pulp color.

Ripeness is evident in the beautiful depth of ruby color and legs, which cling to the glass. Aromas and flavors of cassis, currant and cedar explode on the palate as the richness of body and abundant yet supple tannins provide a delicious texture. The bright natural acidity lends a vibrance to this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, which promises to bottle age beautifully for decades to come.

Cellar and serve at 58ยบ for maximum enjoyment.

Appellation: Napa Valley
Vintage: 1998
Harvest: November 1998
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: Select French Oak
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14.1%
Bottling: June 2000
Production: 3234 cases
Release Date: September 2000
Price:
SOLD OUT

Reviews

  • Wine Spectator: December 15, 2000
    Rating: 93

    Deliciously ripe and complex, overflowing with layers of exotic spice, mineral, sage, current and blackberry, and finishing with a burst of flavor. Tannins are well integrated.

  • Wine & Spirits: December 2000
    Rating: 90

    The cool, gentle ripeness of the '98 vintage created this savory cabernet filled with scents of coffee and roasted meats. Oak lends a crystallized ginger character to the foresty, generous fruit, held tight by the youthful tannins. This is well structured and readily enjoyable with bistro meats, though it carries a complexity that should reward cellaring for six to eight years.

  • Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: May/June 2000
    Rating: 90-93

    Saturated, bright ruby-blue. Sappy, spicy aromas of cassis, blackberry, blueberry and roast coffee. Powerful mountain-style cabernet, with intense flavors, of black fruits, licorice, shoe polish and wintermint, and strong underlying backbone. Here, too, the tannins are less sweet than those of the extraordinary '97 yet coat the entire palate. Not quite as super ripe or generous as the '97, but then not many wines are. The harvest in these vines began in the second week of November and ended in early December.

  • The Wine Advocate: December 2000
    Rating: 90

    The outstanding 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a dark ruby/purple color as well as surprising opulence for a wine from this vintage, admirable elegance, abundant black currant fruit, a dense, chewy mid-palate, a fleshy texture, low acidity, and a tannic finish.It is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with medium weight, as well as outstanding ripeness, richness, and balance. Drink it over the next 12 years.

  • California Grapevine: February/March 2001
    Rating: 89

    Medium-dark to dark ruby; attractive, intense, jammy, spicy, ripe currant and sweet oak aroma; full body; big rich, jammy, plush, high-extract, concentrated, toasty, very ripe berry fruit flavors; medium-full to full tannin; tart, rough, dry finish; lingering aftertaste. Needs bottle aging to resolve the harsh tannin. Highly recommended. 14% alcohol; 3,234 cases; 100% CS; released September 2000. Second Place.