Monitor Ledge takes its name from an outcropping in the mountains overlooking the vineyard. The fruit from Monitor Ledge has been an important component of Duckhorn Vineyards wine blends since 1985. Located on the alluvial fan of Selby Creek, the site is composed of cobblestones and a gravelly, sandy loam soil. Because water drains rapidly in the lean soil, the vines struggle to grow, and the resulting fruit has intensity and structure that make the wines from this vineyard unique. With excellent sun exposure, the fruit consistently ripens to ideal maturity. This vineyard is often the first we harvest, bringing us an early indication of the quality of the vintage to come.
Known for its red-berry character, this wine's core of Cabernet Sauvignon from Monitor Ledge was blended with Merlot to add texture and velvety roundness, and a small amount of Petit Verdot to enhance color and intensity. One of the most rich and mouth-filling Monitor Ledge Vineyard bottlings we have ever produced, it displays all the hallmarks of this great vineyard. The aroma is dominated by elements of raspberry, red cherry and nutmeg with underlying notes of cinnamon spice, while the palate offers bright acidity, red berry flavors and layers of cassis, crème brûlée, vanilla and chocolate.
The 2005 season began with a wet winter and spring, which led to annual rainfall totals that were well above average. We had an ideal fruit set, which produced an abundant number of full grape clusters. As a result, the vintage yielded exceptional fruit for the season. The harvest lasted over two months—into the early days of November. In many ways the 2005 season was reminiscent of the excellent 1997 vintage, which offered an abundant harvest of remarkable quality.