This historic vineyard is located in Oakville, directly north of Opus One, and east of the Robert Mondavi Winery and the famous To-Kalon vineyard. The property is named after Napa Valley pioneer John Crawford Sullenger, who, in 1865, purchased this property and adjoining parcels, amounting to a total of 150 acres. Sullenger later sold a portion of his land to Inglenook proprietor Gustav Niebaum, and to Hamden McIntyre, an architect who designed the buildings that later became home to Far Niente Winery.
The region is very cool with dense fog early in the season and windy conditions all year long. The vines are planted on a gentle, rolling knoll of deep, loamy soils and are cordon trained to give maximum light exposure to the fruit while the berries are very small, yielding low tonnage. Due to the cooler conditions, the vines mature slowly which allows time for great tannin maturity. This Merlot is often harvested with or after Napa Valley Cabernets and this extra "hang time" offers a velvety texture to the wine beyond compare.
Harmonious and plush, the 1998 Sullenger Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful expression of this vineyard, opening with delicately perfumed aromas and evolving into dusty, earthy tones. The entry is warm and smooth, with forward fruit flavors of plum and cherry filling the palate. Layers of coffee and light herb intermixed with sweet, toasty oak add great breadth, while elegant tannins complete the package.
707 cases produced.