Clone 5 2014 Alexander Valley Cab
Brix at harvest: 25.2
Oak aging time for release: 14 months
SRP: $ 40.00
We do not harvest based on “the numbers” (degrees Brix, acidity, etc) but on a myriad of factors including tannin and flavor development, and the appearance of the clusters and vine. This takes observation using all of one’s senses, including sight (are the clusters getting too raisined- might be time to pick), touch (how soft are the clusters?) and even sound (how crunchy are the seeds- what sound do they make when we bite them?). When the grapes are deemed ripe, we harvest them and bring them to the winery as quickly as possible, where they are destemmed then fermented in stainless steel vats for at least 12 days total. We keep temperatures warm enough to extract flavors and color but not so hot as to blow off the delicate, ephemeral aromas that don’t stand up to hot fermentations. When dry, we then press gently and let the new wine settle out for 24 hours before putting down for aging. This wine will see about 40% new French oak for up to 14 months. The French oak gives more backbone and overall complexity and is a nice enhancer of the more subtle textures of our Alexander Valley Cab.
Alexander Valley is an appellation where vineyards that are just next door to each other can yield dramatically different results. For this reason, we farm our vineyards according to the soil, the aspect and the slope and location within the region; we want each vineyard to express its unique character. By dialing in the details in each vineyard, plus picking at the right time, we ensure a perfect balance between fruit intensity, flavor concentration, aromatic development and tannin and color power. The result is a wonderful mix of bright red fruits (cherry, pomegranate, ripe plums), ripe black fruits (blackberry jam, black currants), and savory notes (minerality, black tea, leather). The aromas and flavors deliver a punch of fruit while the tannins create heft in the mouth and set the finish up to be complex and satisfying.
Alexander Valley Cabernet is one of the most versatile full-bodied red wines that northern California produces. It has enough fruit, body and solidity to stand up to robust meat dishes and red sauces, but has enough minerality and finesse to be a fantastic cheese wine, go with hearty vegetable dishes and to be a great pasta wine as well. Reflecting the more rustic countryside and laid-back philosophy of Sonoma County, Alexander Valley Cabernet is a wine that can span both elegance and casualness with ease.
Alison Crowe lives in the Napa Valley, though makes wines in Sonoma County and the Central Coast of California as well. Alison got her start at Chalone Vineyard in the chalky highlands of Monterey County, then worked at Bonny Doon Vineyard for five years, crafting unique varietals and award-winning Rhone-style wines alongside winemaking maverick Randall Grahm. She traveled to Argentina to work with Michel Rolland at Bodegas Salentein in Mendoza, where her appreciation for terroir and unique vineyard character was honed. Alison has spent the past six years based in the Napa Valley, where she enjoys working with her company’s portfolio of vineyards there as well as in other winegrowing regions of California. She is a California native and has an MBA as well as degrees in winemaking and Spanish from UC Davis. She enjoys sharing not only wines but her knowledge with others; she published The Winemaker’s Answer Book in 2007 and pens the popular Wine Wizard column for WineMaker Magazine. Alison believes in letting each vineyard speak its particular truth through the medium of the winemaker; crafting a powerful balance between fruit expression, tannins, flavor and finish without being heavy handed with oak or other interventions. “Sometimes a winemaker’s job is just to get out of the way,” she says. When not making great wines, Alison enjoys fly fishing, cooking for friends and hiking in the Stag’s Leap district in Napa with her Australian shepherd, Kona.