Our Winery Exclusive wines allow us to create small lot offerings each vintage from unique vineyards where we can highlight both the varietal and the terroir of the region. These limited release wines are available only to guests of the winery and our wine club members, and often result in just a few barrels each vintage.
“Perfumed notes of plum, blackberry leaf, bitter chocolate, tobacco and hazelnut. Hint of wild strawberry. It’s full-bodied with firm, velvety tannins. Creamy and smooth with layers of luscious fruit. ” - James Suckling, January 2021
The clarity of crimson red hues in the 2017 Calistoga Cabernet leads to open, appealing aromas of bright cherry and wild berry fruit sweetened with notes of cinnamon and cardamom. On the palate, flavors of black cherry, black currant and Kirsch accented with notes of vanilla, caramel and mint coat the mouth with velvety, cocoa-dusted tannins, the juicy acidity lifting the fruit for a lingering finish.
The 2017 vintage in the Napa Valley was smaller yielding but high in quality. The region enjoyed much needed rain during the winter months ending the drought, followed by a mild spring resulting in uniform flowering and fruit set. A variable summer was accentuated by a short period of warmer than usual temperatures during Labor Day weekend but the cooler weather that followed allowed sugar levels to return to normal and extend hangtime for Cabernet Sauvignon. The lower yield of small-berried grapes resulted in wines that show tremendous concentration of flavors, highly saturated color, and complexity. The grapes for this wine were harvested between September 18-27.
The fruit for Sterling Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced principally from the well-drained, gravelly loam of our Estate Vineyards in Calistoga Bear Flats and BV Ranch No. 12, with a smaller amount coming from Frediani Vineyard to add a layer of complexity to the wine. In these Calistoga vineyards, warm days cool down significantly at night by marine air and fog flowing in from Calistoga’s northwest corridor through the Chalk Hill Gap, as well as from nighttime slippage of cold air from the steep slopes and canyons on both sides of the valley. These diurnal temperature swings slow down ripening of the Cabernet Sauvignon to preserve freshness and exceptional balance in the fruit.
Fruit is hand-harvested in the cool early dawn hours and brought to the winery where the bunches are destemmed and berries sorted with precision through an optical sorter that selects only the highest quality fruit for fermentation in stainless tanks and French Oak puncheons. Extended maceration for two weeks with regular pump-overs to extracted deep color and rich flavors. After fermentation, the wine is aged for 18 months in small oak barrels (65% new) from a variety of French, American and Hungarian coopers to add complexity prior to bottling. The toast level on the barrels enhances the structure of the wine and balances the fruit’s inherent ripeness. This expression is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”
|Oak Treatment||French, American and Hungarian Oak (65% new) for 18 months|
|Blend||100% Cabernet Sauvignon|