68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc
Bud break was early, but a cool spring delayed bloom until early June. Unusually high temperatures in mid-September stressed the young merlot, disqualifying it for inclusion in this year's wine. The mature merlot, cabernets, and petit verdot were unaffected, and harvested on schedule throughout October. Acidity was firm and tannins easily extractable—even during the first three days, we limited circulation of juice over the cap of skins. From the start of natural yeast fermentation on day four, we allowed circulation only under the cap, and pressed at dryness after nine days. Most of the thirty-four lots went through natural malolactic in barrel: fourteen were selected for this fine companion to the Monte Bello. In aging, new oak was limited to forty percent; time in barrel was extended to twenty-one months. This beautifully-balanced wine is enjoyable now, and will develop fully over the next ten to twelve years.