The 2019 Napa Valley vintage is proving promisingly similar to the vaunted 2016 growing season. Both began with considerable rainfall and saw few weather extremes during a long, mild summer, and were remarkable for being largely unremarkable. Both produced beautifully structured wines.
Our sophomore effort from the Pulido~Walker Mt. Veeder Estate Vineyard underscores how enthusiastically certain clones have taken to this site. As in 2018, we harvested and vinified each of the four clones separately. When it came time to taste through the resulting wine lots and begin blending, clones 685 and 15 were the standouts once again. We layered in one barrel of Clone 30, and opted not to include Clone 169 in the 2019.
Yield was only minimally decreased from 2018, and once again we found ourselves with the greatest quantity of the clone we’re liking the best from this site: 685. The late-spring rains didn’t affect fruit set here, and the extended hang time gave us excellent ripeness and lots of options for dialing in the blend.
What resonates for those who experienced this estate’s inaugural 2018 vintage is the depth of flavor in this uniquely complete wine—a testament to years of meticulous planning and thoughtful clonal selection and planting.
Thomas Rivers Brown, Winemaker
Mt. Veeder Estate Vineyard
Stunningly situated in rugged mountain terrain above the fog line at the southern end of the Mt. Veeder appellation, this first-growth Estate Vineyard commands views of the Napa Valley from within the Mayacamas range. Nearly a decade after acquiring these extraordinary 115 acres and collecting data on its microclimates and soils, the best 15 acres were planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Chardonnay.
Dividing the vineyard into 18 micro blocks gave our winemaker total freedom in clonal selection. 20,934 vines were grafted on five different rootstocks with heritage varietal clones that included four Cabernet Sauvignon and three Chardonnay. Vines are spaced 42 inches in 7-foot-wide hillside rows. We maintain full control over all aspects of farming quality and harvest dates, in order to yield an exceptional wine greater than the sum of its parts.
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Clones: 15, 30, and 685
Aging: 20 months in 100% French oak (85% new barrels)
Barrel Coopers: Baron, La Grange, Darnajou, and Taransaud
Alcohol: 14.7% by vol.
Titratable Acidity: 5.2 g/L
Bottling Date: June 2021
Production: 575 Cases
Appellation: Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
Acreage: 15 acres at the southern end of Mt. Veeder
Elevation: 650–960 ft.
Soil Composition: Weathered sandstone, fractured shale, and clay loam soils
Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon (75%) and Chardonnay (25%)