Barnett Vineyards Rattlesnake Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
The 2017 Rattlesnake is opaque purple at the core with a dark purple rim. At this very young stage, the nose is expressing pure cassis concentrate, black plum, ground cocoa nib, and anise. Numerous spices start to emerge from the glass; clove, pepper, and bright cinnamon. Every return to the glass brings a new round of descriptors. Round upon entrance, the wine is very quick to the big chalky tannins at this stage. Coffee grounds, cooking chocolate, and dark volcanic minerality dominate the palate. The tannins are certainly young and firm, chalky but very present, while mountain acidity comes in for balance. This is one of the biggest Rattlesnake Cabernets we have ever made, where at 18-19 years it will start to show a beautiful bottle bouquet and still have some youthful fruit.
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Easily the standout in the lineup, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake is all Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate on Spring Mountain. It has a wonderful bouquet of crème de cassis, spring flowers, lead pencil, and damp earth. This gives way to a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that has a terrific sense of purity, nicely integrated acidity, fine tannins, and beautiful balance. It will benefit from 3-5 years of bottle age (it's far from unapproachable today) and keep for 15-20 years.
Above the town of St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains sits the Spring Mountain District.
A dynamic region, its vineyards, cut by numerous springs and streams, vary in elevation, slope and aspect. Soils differ throughout with over 20 distinct types inside of the 8,600 acres that define the appellation. Within that area, only about 1,000 are planted to vineyards. Predominantly farmed by small, independent producers, the region currently has just over 30 wineries.
During the growing season, late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes reach the Spring Mountain vineyards, which sit at between 400 and 1,200 feet. Daytime temperatures during mid summer and early fall remain slightly cooler than those of the valley floor.
Spring Mountain soils—volcanic matter and sedimentary rock—create intense but balanced reds with lush and delicate tannins. The area excels with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and in some cooler spots, Chardonnay.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.