1996 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Varietal
Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend and Grape Sources
90% Cabernet Sauvignon from estate-grown grapes in Stags Leap, Rutherford and the St. Helena ranch, as well as from independent growers; 8% Yountville Merlot; 2% Cabernet Franc.
Winemaking Data
Grapes were harvested from September 11, - October 10, 1996.
Winemaker Notes
The 1996 growing season presented us with an untimely weather system in mid-May, which dumped four inches of rain in a seven-day period. Blooming grape clusters suffered significant damage with subsequent reductions in crop yield. With the onset of ripening near the end of July, temperatures in the 90° range persisted for ten consecutive days, reducing the rate of photosynthesis and forcing the vines to shut down enzyme activity. Ideal weather finally appeared in September, but the sugar/acid/flavor balance between vineyards was variable, and the decision of when to pick each block was made at the latest possible date. Our tonnage was reduced by about 20% in 1996, and to achieve the quality we wanted in our red wines, we employed a rigorous selection process in the assembly of the final blends. As a result, although production was down, we were able to craft a Cabernet with big, ripe, red fruit flavors, spicy, concentrated aroma, and a long, smooth finish.