Greetings from Napa Valley,
Most of you are probably aware that Napa experienced the largest earthquake Northern California has seen in the last 25 years. We were very fortunate to have not received any losses, but that was not the case for all. Our hearts continue to go out to those whose families, homes, and businesses were affected.
It has been an eventful summer in Napa Valley, drought, heat, an early harvest and now an earthquake. There is no denying that there will be plenty to say about the 2014 vintage. All vintages in Napa Valley make interesting wines, but with some, we have more to talk about. 2011 is one of those.
It is no secret that 2011 was a challenging vintage, cooler and wetter than we typically see in Napa Valley, more along the lines of what one sees in Bordeaux. Those conditions made wines that, on a whole, are not as big and bold as we can see, but rest assured we still have plenty of weight and body in our 2011 Cabernets. The aromatics are stunning, and the palates are lavish. With our wines, I feel 2011 will be a collector’s vintage.
Along with our 2011 wines, we offer our 2013 Chardonnay and an opportunity to try our inaugural release of Merlot from the 2012 vintage. Both of these wines come out of growing seasons which are more typical of the Napa Valley.
Below are winemaker, Kirk Venge’s tasting notes on our wines.
2013 Macauley Dutton Ranch Chardonnay
This wine is a diamond in the rough! It begins with a fresh aroma full of volume, honey, sweet white confection, floral bouquet and sparkling tropical notes. It has a showy, full body, good viscosity, bright white fruits and a plush center and tingly linger that both tastes and leaves you feeling fresh on the palate and wanting more! Hailing from the famed Mill Station Vineyard, managed by Dutton Ranch of Russian River Valley, this Chardonnay shows it all. A beautiful color, the volume is turned way up in the nose and the mouthfeel of sweet citrus and tropical fruit on the entry with firm acidity and richness in the midpalate leaves you wanting another taste. Aged for 11 months sur lies in French oak, stainless steel, and concrete, this is both an eclectic and playful statement in Chardonnay and a wine deserving vineyard designate status. This offering is ready to enjoy now and should age well from release to 2019 or longer if cellared well.
2011 Macauley Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
The 2011 Macauley Cabernet, with time in bottle, has become a very fine wine in what was a challenging vintage for not only Napa Valley, but all of California. The stand out fruit in the blend is bright, wild cherry, strawberry patch, racy raspberry and sweet oak tones. The palate has good weight and density. Flavors of kirsch, vanilla, raspberry compote and vibrant acidity flow into the frame first. That initial attack is followed by warm purple flavors of plum, black cherry, dried currants and French Oak tannin. The acid and tannin array bring life to the palate and slingshot the fruit from mid to the edge of the experience very nicely. The Macauley 2011 is a wonderfully enjoyable wine and a classic of the vintage for sure. With sources from Rutherford, Mt. Veeder and Oakville, I believe cellared correctly, this detail in this wine will improve over the next five years and survive to 2029 and beyond.
2011 Macauley To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley
To Kalon always produces incredible wine! It is what makes procuring and working with that vineyard and its grapes such a joy. The 2011 To Kalon begins with a beautiful dark color that radiates from the glass. A wonderful, fumy, black fruit and cherry nose wafts upwards right away. 2011 may not be as opulent compared to other To Kalon vintages, but it is certainly one of the more structurally and aromatically refined. From the entirely natural yeast fermentation, we get detailed hints of wet stones, blackberry jam, raspberries and oak spice. The few moments hovering above the glass simply cannot allow enough time mention every nuance. This wine walks the tightrope of balance and doesn’t falter. The travel from nose to the palate is nearly seamless in every way. The fruitful palate is somewhat warm and viscous, with lovely flavors of cherry and even bits of clove and spice that you get from 100% new French oak aging for 27 long months. The tannins show their stature and finesse and are even a touch on the youthful side, thus, more time in the bottle will yield nicely. Cellared correctly, this wine will be enjoyed through 2030 and longer.
2012 Macauley Merlot, Napa Valley
This is a lovely and balanced Merlot, hailing from the steep Coombsville appellation domains of John Caldwell, a legendary viticulturist and wine grower. In the nose there are soft but vibrant aromatics of black cherry, overripe strawberry, barrel spice and vanilla. The oak program speaks to 100% new tight grain Sylvain cooperage, one of my very favorite for cradling and expressing the lively nuances of Merlot. For being a steep, rocky Merlot site, this wine is incredibly detailed and well textured. All too often these wines from mountain sources can be tannic, astringent and overpowered in just one linear direction. This wine has structure but beautiful balance. There are no holes in the transition of sweet red fruit from the beginning to middle to finish. Length and sweet black fruits linger to several seconds on the end. This was a very small bottling of just 50 few cases. I think aged well this is certainly a 10 to 15 year wine.
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