2015 Cabernet Sauvignon AME
Our Conn Valley Ranch is rectangular, with the two long sides running north and south. The southern boundary is bordered by Conn Creek, and is about 400 feet in elevation. As the property extends north, it rises in elevation, reaching almost 1000 feet at the northern boundary. The soil in the south is deep gravel with some sandstone, clay and loam. As we go north approaching the higher elevation blocks, the soil becomes increasingly steep and rocky, due to the large blocks of Basalt or compacted volcanic ash. When David Abreu joined us as viticulturalist in 1992, he was immediately attracted to the highest elevation parcel because of its ideal drainage and southern facing. After digging a few test holes, Abreu reported that the area was well suited for Cabernet Sauvignon, and would be become the ‘soul’ of our winery. I mentioned his observation to my French-speaking office manager, and she was quick to point out that the French word for ‘Soul’ was ‘ÂME’, and it contained the first name initial of each of our three children – Alexandra, Michael and Elizabeth. We named the parcel the ÂME Vineyard. The 2015 harvest was the 20th anniversary of the vineyard. While it regrettably yielded the smallest crop in our history, it was evenly ripe, with small, intensely flavored grapes, each with a near-perfect acid and sugar balance. We aged the 2015 ÂME for 18 months in French oak barrels, then bottled it -- unfined and unfiltered -- in June 2017. The color is dark purple, and the aroma is saturated with a combination of black fruit, cassis and a faint touch of tobacco leaf. An important characteristic of our Cabernet Sauvignon based wines is their soft texture due to the long maceration. This allows more of the large, slightly bitter tannins to drop out. Here is a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for the ages. You should ensure that you too have enough set aside to watch it develop over time.