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2006 Cabernet Sauvignon – Grand Vin

The 2006 growing season began with a relatively warm February followed by one of the wettest March’s on record.  From February 26th to April 17th there was measurable rain on all but six days. The rains helped to create an abundance of moisture in the soil, which lead to a vigorous and healthy cover crop. This resulted in a delayed trend for bud-break and bloom cycles slightly behind previous seasons.  Our Estate vineyard experienced a mild growing season until the final week of July, when temperatures reached 117 degrees on July 23rd with a very low relative humidity. The extreme temperatures caused some severe leaf and fruit burn in the merlot, causing us to be very selective with cluster selection.  August thru October the weather pattern remained moderate with mild temperatures, giving us the ability for controlled maturation and hang time.  Harvest was delayed by two weeks, allowing for complete physiological maturation and ripeness.  This ended up to be one of the longest seasons in recent memory.  Last Cabernet Sauvignon harvest date was November 06, 2006 without a drop of rain.

We employed draconian yield reduction in order to ensure the absolute optimal physiological maturity.  Sorting was done first by bunches to remove irregularly ripened fruit and any leaf material and then put through a de-stemmer.  The individual berries were then given an additional hand sort to remove any remaining stem material from the berries prior to being transferred and vinified in small stainless steel fermenters.  The wine was initially cold soaked; followed by alcoholic fermentation with daily pump-overs. The barrels were topped every 2 weeks, hand racked once every three months and aged in 90% new French oak and 10% new Hungarian oak  until May 2008 when the wine was bottled.

Production Notes

Appellation: Yountville (Napa Valley), CA
Barrel Age: 20 months new French oak
Blend: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8 % Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Alcohol: 13.7 %
pH: 3.75
Release Date: February 2009
Production (750ml): 650 Cases
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon – Grand Vin

Press

96
POINTS

Deep ruby. The nose offers an ineffable candied perfume of crushed dark berries, violet and licorice pastille, espresso and lavender. Then wonderfully precise and pure in the mouth, with outstanding inner-mouth aromatic character to the flavors of black and purple berries, lead pencil and flowers. I suspect this wine is in the process of shutting down in the bottle, and it may well need a decade or more to show its great inherent quality. Finishes with palate-saturating length and building but thoroughly ripe and fine-grained tannins. These 2007s have delivered splendidly on the outstanding potential they displayed from barrel a year ago.

100
POINTS
Wine Advocate # 186

Absolutely riveting, and even better than I predicted last year is the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon - Grand Vin State Lane Vineyard. Made from 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and the rest tiny dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (400 cases produced), in two weeks of tastings, this wine stood out as one of those singular efforts that it is impossible to get out of your mind and off of your palate. A flawless, seamless, profound example of Napa Cabernet, it exhibits an opaque purple color along with a gorgeous perfume of lead pencil shavings, cedar, creme de cassis, ink, flowers, and espresso roast. With phenomenal depth, a multidimensional personality, unbelievable length, and an impeccable integration of all its component parts, this stunning wine lasts and lasts, with a finish approaching a full minute. Give this profound wine 3-5 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following 25-30 years.

This is a superb line-up of wines from Lou Kapcsandy, who emigrated from Hungary to set up a construction business in Seattle, which he gave up for his true love - making wines along with his wife, Bobbi, and son, Louis. They were fortunate to be able to purchase Beringer’s State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, and have it completely replanted by Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. They then brought in Bordelais Denis Malbec to help produce the wines, which have gone from strength to strength. The 2006s are magnificent, but may be eclipsed by the 2007s.

97
POINTS
Wine Advocate # 186

The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Grand Vin State Lane Vineyard is a 650-case blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. A candidate for “wine of the vintage,” it boasts an extraordinary perfume of lead pencil shavings, plums, licorice, black currants, and white chocolate as well as a firm, Bordeaux-like structure, good purity, and incredibly sweet fruit. It will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age, and last for 20-25 years. Those consumers who complain about high alcohol in California Cabernets should realize that this offering possesses less than 14% alcohol.

93(+?)
POINTS

Good full, deep ruby. Deep, brooding aromas of dark fruits, licorice, violet, bitter chocolate and minerals. At once denser and tighter than the Estate Cuvee, showing a rather muscular, claret-like minerality today but also a stronger fruit component. Finishes with terrific spine for aging. Lay this one down. With the 2007 vintage, the label will say Grand Vin. Incidentally, the winery maximized the quality of its 2006s by selling off more than 500 cases' worth of wine through a private label.