The Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon was the third appellation wine to be introduced in our Cabernet series of very small bottlings dedicated to the benchland sub-appellations of Napa Valley. This bottling marks the eighth vintage of the Oakville Cabernet and celebrates Etude’s long-term relationship with one of the most highly regarded winegrowers in Napa Valley.
Source: Block 6 of the Vine Hill Ranch, Oakville, Napa Valley
Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Harvest Date: September 10, 2015
Vinification: Aged in French oak barrels (75% new) for 20 months
By The Numbers: pH: 3.62 | TA: 0.61 gms/100ml | ABV: 14.6%
Production: 229 cases
“This is a phenomenal wine for the vintage with superb definition and complexity. Full-bodied, offering dark berries, forest floor and fresh mushrooms. Such class and depth. Complete balance and length. A wine with a great future. So gorgeous now, but better after 2022.” - James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2019
A deep garnet color leads to aromas of wild blueberries and flavors of black and blue fruits such as black cherry, red and black currants and minty chocolate. Cigar cedar box and dried lavender frame a medium to full-bodied wine that is loaded with earthy layers, well integrated tannins and a lingering, lengthy finish. It takes little confidence to affirm that this wine is an ager, and will continue to evolve in complexity and hedonistic pleasure over many years to come.
Early, a bit challenged by the cumulative impact of the drought years, but exceptional in quality for the smaller amount of fruit that was harvested. That’s the record of the 2015 growing season. A mild winter caused early bud break, followed by protracted bloom and unseasonably cool weather in spring, contributing to smaller grape clusters and variable crop size. Warmer weather in the summer resulted in a harvest that began about 10 days earlier than normal.
Grapes were sourced exclusively from Block Six of the Vine Hill Ranch, originally planted in 1992 to Clone 7, nestled along the hills of the Mayacamas Mountain Range at the south end of the Oakville AVA. The Phillips family has carefully managed this alluvial benchland vineyard with cobbly soils for three generations, home to some of the most expressive and concentrated Cabernet grapes in the Napa Valley. Michael Wolf, who has watched over Vine Hill for nearly two decades, makes certain the vineyard is healthy and offering its ultimate expression for Cabernet Sauvignon.
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). Each lot was kept separate until final blending. The resulting wine was returned to barrel for an additional nine months of aging.