95 points - Wine Advocate
"Made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 19 months in 80% new French oak, the deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Yates Vineyard has a beautifully fragrant nose of violets and chocolate mint over a core of warm cassis, blackberry compote, dusty soil, tobacco and sandalwood. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and solidly structured with ripe, grainy tannins supporting the perfumed layers, finishing long.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018
Mt. Veeder is known for producing fruit with intense tannins that result in age-worthy wines of distinction, and this vintage follows that pattern. Working closely with the Yates family, the vineyard is picked several times to select only fruit that has reached optimal ripeness and maturity of flavor. Bright red fruit led by wild mountain raspberry and bright cherry pie sit alongside some black pepper and darker fruits including blackberry framed with cocoa powder, oak spice, vanilla and caramel from the new oak. The fine tannins give way to a wine with great structure and balance, solid acidity and a vibrant finish that lingers.
The Yates Family vineyard is found moderately high, just above the town of Napa, planted at an elevation of 1,100 feet. Mt. Veeder is one of Napa’s most unique AVAs, the southernmost and coolest growing region, known for an extended growing season and volcanic soils with a variety of micro climates. The vineyard is found at the end of Redwood Road, near the Archer Taylor Preserve managed by the Land Trust of Napa Valley. Vineyards were first planted here in the 1860s.
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 was hand-harvested and hand-sorted selecting only the highest quality fruit for fermentation in a combination of concrete and stainless vessels. The concrete tanks, relatively new to the winery, offered a significant purity of expression. Fruit was allowed to ferment for up to 15 days with regular pump-overs to extract deep color and rich flavors. The wine was then gently pressed, racked and aged for 19 months in 100% French oak (80% new) from COF toasted medium/medium plus from a mix of coopers including Gamba, Remond, Taransaud, Allary and Quintessence.