Sterling has more than five decades of winemaking excellence in Napa Valley, and winemaker Harry Hansen is able to build from that experience to select the finest lots to create the most memorable expressions of the varietal for each vintage. Key to the signature Sterling style is the contribution of fruit from our home base surrounding Calistoga, where fully ripe fruit offers soft tannins, black fruit profiles and approachability, alongside the firmer tannins evident in fruit from Diamond Mountain, offering great balance in the final assemblage and cuvée.
The 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet is rich and robust with a deep red garnet color supported by aromas and flavors of redcurrant, black cherry, blackberry and ripe plum. Notes of dark chocolate and cassis are accompanied by vanilla and caramel cream. Lovely and full-bodied, the wine is balanced and well-structured with juicy acidity and firm, round tannins. Very approachable and drinkable now, but will continue to evolve over time, revealing more of its personality over the next decade.
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.
The grapes for our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were picked in the cool mornings, quickly brought to the winery and placed in tanks for a two-day cold soak designed to extract color and flavor from the grapes. After fermentation, the young wines were aged for 18 months in a combination of French, Hungarian and American oak barrels. Once ready, the barrels are carefully evaluated and only those reflecting the true hallmarks of the Napa Valley are selected for the final Napa Valley blend.
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