2016 Cabernet Sauvignon 'Neyers Ranch'
We experienced a period of cool weather in September of 2016, and the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest was pushed back to late September/early October as a result. This gave the fruit some additional time to approach ideal ripening levels, and we can see that physiological ripeness in the texture and flavor of the finished wine. Spring frost and cold, windy weather in May reduced the crop size of our Cabernet Sauvignon. Still, the wine is very showy despite the small quantity, and even now, we can already see a bright future for this bottling.
This vintage marked the 25th anniversary of our Conn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, as Dave Abreu took over the management of the ranch and the planting project in 1992. These vines are just now entering the most important phase of their life span, and in light of the past five years of drought, the even canopy, dark green hue of the leaves, and balanced spread of the crop confirm those suspicions. Abreu planted the vineyard to 3309 and 110 Richter rootstocks – both of them drought resistant and well suited to rocky soils – then budded them to plant material from his Thorvilas Vineyard on Howell Mountain, budwood that originated at Ch. Margaux in Bordeaux. After an extended maceration of almost 45 days, the tank was drained and pressed, and the new wine racked to 60-gallon French oak barrels, 40% of them new. We bottled the wine 18 months later with neither fining nor filtration. The wine is among our best ever, with a bright, fresh Cabernet aroma of wild cherries, chocolate and fresh tobacco leaf. We look at the 2016 Neyers Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon as a legitimate Vin de Garde, with a long and attractive future.