2015 Bell Cabernet Sauvignon, Longtable Vineyard
The grapes are hand-harvested and gently crushed to retain 40% whole berries. The free-run and press wines were kept separate; the resulting bottled wine is almost entirely from free-run juice. Following fermentation the wine went through malo-lactic fermentation in barrel. The wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels (100% new) for 20 months and racked several times to naturally clarify the wine and soften the tannins. With no filtration or fining, the wine was laid down in bottle prior to release.
Yet another year of drought conditions began with our “rainy season” ending early, followed immediately by flowering fruit trees opening up before the end of January. We received only about 75% of our usual rain. Spring was long, cool, overcast and punctuated by several windy days during flowering that badly affected fruit set. Shatter was evident in several of the vineyards we work with; by harvest, our Chardonnay crop was off by about 40% and our Syrah by 60%. Growing season temperatures were steady and warm – perfect for developing the complex fruit flavors we look for, as well as preserving the acidity necessary for mouth-watering wine. Harvest began in July, our earliest harvest date on record at BELL, and we were completely finished bringing in our red grapes by the first day of October, also a record. To quote Anthony, “Young wines look to be of excellent quality with deep color and lovely fruit aromas, and initial analysis shows no serious impacts from the series of heat waves we experienced. Overall yields are down, but it is safe to say that while we will not have the expected quantity to sell in upcoming years, the quality will be exceptional.”
The 2015 Longtable Vineyard, located on the coveted rugged terrain of Mt. Veeder, is proving to be one of the latest premium vineyards to be planted to on that mountain range, and is producing less than two tons of grapes per acre. Dark and intoxicating seems to be the signature of this vineyard. Wild blackberry, plum, blueberry cobbler, bay leaf, and a slate-like minerality are at the surface with just a few quick swirls. The palate is dark and stately, brimming with black currant, dried underbrush, sweet lavender, a slight maple note, and forest floor. The finish is long, an exquisite wine to the end.
Varietal Cabernet Sauvignon (100%), Clones 169 & 31
Source Longtable Vineyard, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
Harvest Date September 11, 2015
Harvest Sugar 27.1 Brix
Harvest Acid 0.59 gm/100ml
Total Acid 0.68 gm/100ml
Aging 20 months in 100% French Oak, 100% New
Bottle Date June 2017
Production 509 bottles