92+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck
"The flagship 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a great vintage in Napa and reveals a deep purple hue as well as classic notes of blackcurrants, tobacco, cedarwood, and violets. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, with plenty of mid-palate depth and some chewy tannins, it's a beautiful, outstanding wine that needs 3-4 years of bottle age and will keep for 15-20." - Jeb Dunnuck, January 2020
Exuberant and not at all shy in declaring its complexity, this is a plush, mouth-filling wine with aromas and flavors of dark fruits such as blueberries, black cherries and blackberries, overlaid with black currant and mocha chocolate. Hints of cedar and oak spice with velvety tannins, well balanced and well-structured with deep concentration and the promise that given time, it will continue to surprise and delight. Best of all, for those with less patience, the wine is suitable for enjoyment and sharing with good friends right now.
The Etude Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is handcrafted with grapes from unique benchland vineyards representing the major sub-appellations of Napa Valley. The 2016 Cabernet was sourced with fruit from some of the most highly regarded winegrowers in Napa Valley — Vine Hill Ranch in Oakville, Morisoli Vineyards in Rutherford and Meteor Vineyard in Coombsville. By deliberately sourcing fruit from this group of exemplary vineyards, this wine exhibits the full potential of Cabernet fruit flavors and textures with vitality and finesse.
After a relatively dry January significant rainfall arrived in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. The extended season helped to balance acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Warm temperatures arrived as harvest began, but ultimately, everything came together in the best possible way.
Etude’s philosophy remains steadfast and this Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted with very minimal winemaking intervention. The grapes were cold soaked for 3-5 days and fermented on their skins in open top fermenters. An extended maceration period followed fermentation to help modify the depth and mouthfeel of the wine, and to fully extract color, flavor and aromatics. The young wine was then racked into small French oak barrels – using a selection of coopers and forests to accentuate the vineyard distinctions – where it aged for 20 months in 100% French Oak (75% new). In order to maintain the unique characteristics of each vineyard, each block and lot was kept separate until final blending.