Sterling Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s premier winery destinations, offers an array of distinct and beautifully crafted wines from its home appellation. The Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley wines show the depth, strength and incredible quality representative of California’s most famous wine region. The grapes for Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley wines are grown in diverse and premium vineyards throughout the valley—from the cool southern Carneros region to the warm and rugged northernmost reaches of the valley near Calistoga. These incredible vineyards give winemaker Harry Hansen some of the best Napa Valley fruit to select from and craft these unique, intensely flavored and expressive wines.
“The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Clairmore is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, clones 8 and 337, coming from Clairmore Vineyard on the north shore of Lake Hennessey. Deep garnet-purple colored, it slowly reveals itself with broody tar, sautéed herbs and damp earth notes over a core of baked black cherries, dried mulberries and crème de cassis. Concentrated and full-bodied in the mouth, it has a lively line of freshness lifting all the decadent fruit, finishing long and plush. 500 cases were made.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
“Spiced and rich aromas of ripe blackcurrant, blackberry leaf, vanilla, licorice and sweet tobacco. It’s full-bodied with firm, creamy tannins with a concentrated core of ripe fruit and sweet spice. Nice freshness and brightness for the vintage. Better from 2023, but already delicious.” - James Suckling, January 2021
Inky in color, this distinctive Cabernet sends a sweet floral note before revealing deep aromas of black currant, cassis and cherry cola layered with hints of tobacco, spice and graphite. On the palate, flavors of concentrated black fruit underlain with minerality are accented with notes of cedarwood, cocoa and mint. Complex and substantial in style with rich, polished tannins and persistent finish, this full-bodied, finely knit mountain Cabernet Sauvignon will continue to reveal itself over years and decades to come.
The 2017 vintage in the Napa Valley was lower 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 hang time 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 the blend were harvested between 9/21 and 9/23/17.
Named after the owner who planted the vines in this exceptional location two decades ago, Clairmore Vineyard is the newest addition to Sterling’s single-vineyard collection. The vineyard is located high on the eastern mountain range of Napa Valley on the slopes of the Lake Hennessey basin amidst wild and rugged terrain of shale and red clay soils. For this inaugural vintage, clones 8 and 337 from Block 10 were selected contributing deep color, high-toned fruit and refined tannins to the wine.
After careful vineyard selection, the grapes were harvested in the early hours of the morning and brought straight to the winery. After being optically sorted in the brand new Sterling Reserve Winery, the fruit was split between stainless steel tanks (62%) and concrete tanks (38%) for added complexity and fermentation precision. After some time on skins, the wines aged in 90% French oak barrels and 10% Hungarian oak barrels, at 81% new oak. After 18 months of aging, each barrel was selected for brilliant fruit, fine tannins, and best expression of Clairmore Vineyard.
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.”