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TwentyFour Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
The 2010 harvest was an exciting one that kept us on our toes by throwing a few curve balls to the valley. After three years on the dry side, we were relieved to have the much needed rainfall, even though it delayed bud break by a few weeks. The cloud cover that stuck around for the beginning of the growing season insulated the valley, eliminating any frost damage, which was an added bonus. Over the summer, temperatures were cooler than normal, dragging out the growing season and causing us all to be extra aware of canopy management so we didn't get surprised with mildew problems. However, thinned out canopies meant little sun protection when temperatures spiked to the triple digits in late August. We ended up dropping some fruit and spending extra time hand-sorting when we got it back to the winery. The extra effort was well worth it as the grapes that remained brought concentrated flavors with a lot of complexity that made one of our best wines to date.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Charles Woodson discovered his appreciation for wine in 1998 when he arrived in Napa with the Oakland Raiders for training camp. He was intrigued when he noticed that everywhere he went people were enjoying a bottle of wine. It didn’t matter if it was an opulent dinner, low key lunch, or lazy afternoon. He was drawn to the fact that people seemed to slow down and come together over a glass of wine. Being the curious type, he not only wanted to participate in this ritual, he wanted to learn how to create it himself.
Early on in Charles’ time in Napa, he met Rick Ruiz who was working at Robert Mondavi Winery. Rick invited Charles to visit the winery and showed him around the cellar while explaining the winemaking process from start to finish. In that moment, Charles’ desire to actually make a wine was launched. The two worked together with another friend – who happened to be acclaimed international winemaker, Gustavo A. Gonzalez – to create the first barrel of TwentyFour. They produced a 2001 vintage Merlot that was used to support the various charities with which Charles is involved.
Charles not only solidified friendships in the process of learning how to make wine, he found a new passion. He wasn’t content to stop at just one barrel. Charles wanted to produce a second vintage of larger quantities that could be used for donations and still have enough for friends to enjoy. Today, the TwentyFour team is still working together. Gustavo is leaving his mark on the wine, Rick is managing the daily activities of production and Charles is traveling the country sharing his wine with fans and donating $10 of every bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon purchased online to the CS Mott Children’s Hospital & Von Voightlander Women’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.