92 Points - Wine Advocate
“Composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 40% new American oak (37%), French oak (34%) and Hungarian oak (29%) for 20 months, the deep garnet purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga reveals notes of blackcurrant pastilles, plum preserves and dried bay leaves with touches of Indian spices, lavender and tilled soil. Full, rich and concentrated, it has a beautiful velvety texture and layers of spiced plums notes lingering long into the finish.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018
Rich and showy with a deep purple hue, cassis and dark fruit lead aromas leading to flavors of ripe blackberries, cherry cola, vanilla and oak spice framed by soft, velvety tannins. Distinct and pleasant mouthfeel with a lingering, slight sweet finish. This is a Cabernet to enjoy today.
The fruit for Sterling Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced principally from the Frediani and Bear Flats Vineyards in Calistoga. Here, a typically warmer growing season is perfect for the development of flavorful Cabernet Sauvignon. The Bear Flats vineyard, north of St. Helena and sloping towards the Napa River, was replanted eight years ago, so vines are youthful in their expression.
The 2015 growing season was marked by pleasant weather with little pressure from heat spikes or unseasonable rain. A dry winter was quickly followed by an equally dry spring, leading to an early bud break. Warm weather continued throughout late spring and summer, allowing for the steady 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 to be chosen for this special bottling. Fruit for the 2015 vintage was harvested between September 11 and October 5, 2015.
Fruit is hand-harvested in the cool early dawn hours. Fruit is then hand-sorted, selecting only the highest quality for fermentation in stainless 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 20 months in small oak barrels (59% new) from a variety of French, American and Hungarian coopers to add complexity prior to bottling, We use a lighter toast in the oak to balance the fruit’s inherent ripeness, blending seamlessly with the tannins. The wine is allowed to rest for at least six months to gain further complexity. This expression is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga.