Vine Hill Ranch is a distinctive blend of two clones of Cabernet Sauvignon from three special blocks in the renowned Vine Hill Ranch vineyard in Napa Valley’s western benchlands near Oakville. Cakebread Cellars has purchased these grapes since 1982, and they have consistently produced singular, long-lived wines. Hand-harvested at night to ensure the fruit’s freshness and varietal purity, each of the three vineyard blocks is fermented and barrel-aged separately. After the grapes are gently destemmed and crushed, the must from each of the three vineyard lots is cold-soaked in small, closed-top, stainless steel tanks for 48 hours to extract color, aromas, flavors and fine tannins prior to initiating fermentation (in the same tanks) with a cultured French yeast strain. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended maceration on their skins to fully extract color and flavor and soften tannins. After assessing the attributes of each wine, the three are blended and aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 66% new, to create a uniquely complex and intense Cabernet Sauvignon that speaks eloquently of its terroir.
Ripe, brooding boysenberry, blackcurrant and black fig aromas, abetted by hints of loam, mineral and toasted oak, preface an immensely concentrated palate featuring deep, lush dark cherry, boysenberry and cassis flavors. Tightly structured by youthfully firm yet supple tannins and fresh, crisp acidity, the Vine Hill displays a density and power found in only the finest Cabernet Sauvignons. It culminates in an incredibly long, savory finish showcasing rich, earthy, black fruit flavors refreshed by cool mineral tones. Truly delicious even in its youth, Vine Hill will flourish with another decade of bottle aging.