Looking toward the West Bench of Yountville, snug upon the Mayacamas mountain range, the distinct profile of a woman at rest on her side framed by distinctive foothills explains the name of this meticulously farmed vineyard. There are multiple clones of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in small blocks across 50 acres here, including several favorites of winemaker Harry Hansen. He often selects blocks with Clone 2, known for small clusters and small, intensely flavored berries with a history in Napa and Sonoma dating to the 1880s, aromatic Clone 22 and Clone 30, with local roots in the Stags Leap District from the See Ranch.
“A riper and richer 2018 with lots of spicy dried fruit with plums and walnuts. Full-bodied and layered. Chewy finish. Bigger style for a 2018. Better after 2023 when it will have smoothed out the rough edges.” - James Suckling, August 2021
“Streamlined, with flickers of sassafras and sweet bay leaf dotting the core of cassis and dark cherry fruit. Delivers a polished structure that supports the finish, with a hint of minerality peeking through in the end. Drink now through 2028.” - Kim Marcus, September 30, 2021
Always intense with plentiful tannins, Sleeping Lady Cabernet is a poster child for Napa Valley with great structure, beautiful complexity and layered aromatics. At the top, crushed violets and dark cherry combine to create an aromatic floral compote. Deeper still, rich dark notes of blackberry and currant combine with herbaceous notes of sage and thyme. Warmer nuances of caramel, vanilla bean and espresso combine to create a solid backbone of incredible depth and a beautiful long-lasting finish. This wine is still fairly young, decant if you plan on drinking immediately, or store in cellar for another 10-20 years.
A near perfect season, welcomed after several tense vintages, began with abundant February rains followed by drying sun and weather that allowed for even flowering and bud break. The slightly later start was followed by consistently ideal weather. It turned a bit cool in August, mild in September, allowing fruit to evolve. Patience and careful attention to the vineyard was rewarded with fruit of excellent ripeness, well balanced tannins and complexity. Generally, normal to heavier fruit clusters were evident on the vine with great flavor intensity. On average, pick dates were two weeks later than normal.
Looking toward the West Bench of Yountville, snug upon the Mayacamas mountain range, the distinct profile of a woman at rest on her side framed by distinctive foothills explains the name of this meticulously farmed vineyard. Here, at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains, the alluvial fan soils encourage the vines to root deeply to find water. A few feet of topsoil cover a defined bed of cobblestones mixed with gravel, which provide enough stress to keep the grapes desirably small. The vineyard’s unique trellising system ripens each cluster in dappled sunlight—never in full sun or full shade—to give the tiny grapes exceptionally thick and flavorful skins, which yield a rich, highly extracted wine.
Fruit was hand-harvested and hand-sorted at optimum ripeness on October 25, selecting only the highest quality fruit for fermentation in stainless vessels. Fruit was allowed to ferment for up to 20 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 90% new French oak from COF toasted medium/medium plus from a mix of coopers including Gamba, Remond, Taransaud, Allary and Quintessence.
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