2017 Cabernet Sauvignon 'Neyers Ranch'
"We harvested the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon crop from our Conn Valley Ranch in the first week of October, a week later than we picked the same vineyard the prior year. The size of the crop was about 20% smaller in 2017 as well, mostly due to the cold, wet weather we experienced in spring during flowering. Grapevines are self-pollinating, and cold, windy or damp weather interferes with this process, a problem known the French call coulure. Ironically, the harsh spring weather of 2017 had a huge impact on the size of our crop. Still, this smaller crop ripened fully and evenly, and at harvest time we picked beautiful, dark-colored clusters under near-perfect conditions. The finished wine was immediately remarkable for its flavor and complexity, and the wine looks to be one that will improve for many years. During my career in the Napa Valley wine business, I’ve learned to expect the best wines from cold years like 2017. These are vintages that are viewed initially with lowered expectations, but my experience has been just the opposite. Going back to my first Napa Valley harvest in 1971, these ‘colder years’ invariably result in wines with brighter, more attractive flavors, and the wines age longer and more gracefully.
Following harvest, the wine was fermented using wild, native yeast in an temperature-controlled stainless steel tank. After 45 days or so, the tank was drained and the pomace pressed, and the wine transferred to 60-gallon French oak barrels, 25% of them new. During the first year, we racked the wine off of the yeast lees three times, and by May 2019 it had been sufficiently clarified to bottle without fining or filtration. I am especially impressed by its bright ruby hue, a color so commanding it reminded me of the 1995 red Bordeaux wines I tasted from barrel during my trip to France in the Spring of 1996. It’s loaded with flavors that range from wild cherry to chocolate, enhanced by the lovely hint of tobacco leaf and mint. Each aromatic component has its own individual fascination, but all of them together provide a remarkable experience. Here’s a complete Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that we expect it to improve for 20 years. It's a from a very small crop that will provide decades of pleasure." - Bruce Neyers