93 points - Wine Advocate
"The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Iridium is made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 19 months in 66% new French oak. It has a deep garnet-purple color and reveals crème de cassis, Black Forest cake and bay leaves with hints of incense, baking spices, Sichuan pepper and underbrush plus a touch of wood smoke. Medium to full-bodied with a firm, chewy structure and plenty of earthy layers, it finishes on a mineral note." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018
Iridium is a wine designed to bring a singular thought to life: great wines come from great vineyards, and never so much as when the winemaking and winegrowing teams work hand in hand to carefully nurture the finest fruit toward a well-rewarded harvest. In 2015, Iridium exhibits the purity of fruit expression, polished tannins and rich texture that are quickly becoming the signature of this bold and opulent wine. Classic Napa Cabernet notes of mocha, cassis and dark fruits are accented with oak spice, caramel toffee and layered flavors that linger, leaving a lasting impression. Built to last, the wine will reveal its inner personality over many years to come.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the signature variety of the Napa Valley and the appellation excels in producing outstanding expressions of this admired varietal. Napa Valley offers an ideal combination of topography, geology and climate that enables Cabernet Sauvignon to reach optimum ripeness, balance and finesse. And within the valley, there are exceptional vineyards and sub-appellations that produce some of the finest expressions of this noble grape. In Vintage 2015, winemaker Harry Hansen has selected notable lots from vineyards spanning key Napa Valley growing regions, including the Meigs Vineyard in Wooden Valley, Peterson Vineyard on Diamond Mountain, Sleeping Lady Vineyard in Yountville and the famed Hewitt Vineyard in Rutherford. The vineyards offer soils ranging from clay loam to tufa, with a variety of clones, exposures and ages.
The 2015 growing season was marked by pleasant weather with little pressure from heat spikes or unseasonable rain. A dry winter, common recently, was quickly followed by an equally dry spring,
leading to an early bud break and fast start to the growing season. Warm weather continued throughout late spring and summer, allowing for the steady and sure development of flavors. The
overall quality, complexity and balance in the vines produced exceptional fruit. The impact of the continuing drought was evident in slightly lighter crop loads, but the reduction in size was offset
by an increase in quality as vineyard crews carefully selected fruit at harvest, allowing for only the finest fruit to be selected for Iridium.
Fruit was hand-harvested and hand-sorted, selecting only the highest quality fruit for fermentation in a combination of concrete, French Oak and stainless vessels. The concrete tanks, relatively new to the winery, offered a significant purity of expression. Fruit was allowed to ferment for up to 15 days with regular pump-overs to extract deep color and rich flavors. The wine was then gently pressed, racked and aged for 18 months in 66% new French oak from COF toasted medium/medium plus from a mix of coopers including Gamba, Remond, Taransaud, Allary and Quintessence. Individual barrels from these top lots are aged separately and are tasted frequently before the final selection of only the most compelling barrels for Iridium.
“This extraordinary wine has been a labor of love. I’ve enjoyed working with it from the very beginning and watching it evolve. Its beauty and intensity is remarkable and will surely be revered as one of the very best from Sterling Vineyards.” – Winemaker Harry Hansen