A vintage that offered us nearly idea growing conditions: a warm spring and cool summer, followed by a dry September. This is what we hope for every year. The cool summer, in particular allowed the flavors to develop slowly and completely, without raising sugar levels (and alcohol) too high.
||2001 Merlot - bright red fruit and savory spice still very much apparent although I'm looking forward to enjoying the final few cases in the near term. Drink up.||
|2002||A severe heat wave hit us on Labor Day and all of our vines began maturing very quickly. This presented a challenge to many growers but we worked hard to select the best clusters and remove the dehydration and sunburn that marked this vintage. Some higher than usual sugars.||2002 Cabernet Sauvignon - some thinning and bricky notes around the rim, but still a lot going on as the fruit slowly fades to tobacco and dried greek olives mixed with mountain spice. Holding up better in large format. Drink now.||01.06.12|
|2003||Close to an ideal vintage for us. Consistent temperatures allowed for very even ripening with balanced fruit and spice at lower sugars and therefore alcohol levels.||2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - blueberry and briary spice create wonderful layered complexity in this elegantly aging vintage. Balanced and therefore has several more years of drinkability ahead...||12.31.11|
A warmer than usual vintage resulted in a slightly earlier harvest. The year started off well with a warm and dry spring which helped promote even flowering and set. This even and balanced growth resulted in balanced ripening later in the season, though as temperatures increased late in the season our crew worked very hard to harvest at peak flavor.
||2004 Cabernet Sauvignon - ripe plum, dried bing cherry, and a nice tannic grip. Very enjoyable and looking set to taste great for 3 or so more years.||12.31.11|
The 2005 vintage offered us the perfect conditions for the style of wine we strive to make. The long, cool season allowed us to ripen our fruit without excessive sugar, which allowed us to keep our final alcohol below 14%.
||2005 Red - ripe Santa Rosa plum, nuttiness, and sweet spice. Silky smooth on the palate with nice acid. Drink over the next several years.||01.06.12|
|2006||2006 was not the easiest vintage but some ruthless fruit thinning and careful babysitting helped get the vines closer to the point of optimal ripeness and balance.||2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - a less fruit forward wine, with a meatiness and smoky notes not seen in most vintages. Savory and complex fruit flavors that can age well for another 5 years.||12.31.11|
In stark contrast to the challenging prior year, this delightful vintage was dry and consistently cool. The longer season allowed more refined, longer flavors and aromas to develop in tandem with even ripening and focused fruit. Often regarded as finest recent vintage in CA.
||2007 Red - multi-layered with a nice structured balance of tart-cherry red fruit, spice and oak. Tannins are soft enough to enjoy now, but this also promises be one of our best aging vintages of Red. Enjoy over next 5 years.||01.06.12|
|2008||A year with the right components but difficult timing...late frosts, high winds, and high temperatures all conspired to produce challenges.||2008 Cabernet Sauvignon - classic Bell Mountain spice complements additional notes and texture from a higher percentage of new oak aging. A young wine that will age well over next 3 - 5 years.||12.31.11|
Rains came a little too soon for our liking and growers faced difficult decisions to pick early (when flavors are not ripe) or gamble and leave fruit hanging in the hope that it would mature after the rains but before the vines sensed winter and lay dormant. We braved the rains and are glad that we did.
||2009 Chardonnay - nutty baking spice, green apple and mint on the nose with subtle lemon and star anise flavors. Balanced by minerality, and structure - to enjoy over the next 2 years.||01.06.12|
|2010||Most likely the most challenging year we’ve experienced, viticulturally speaking. A cold spring, late summer heat spikes, and early fall rains forced us to work hard this year to coax the best out of our vines. Not an easy one.||2010 Sauvignon Blanc - very bright with gooseberry-spice, meyer lemon, kumquat, orange blossom and racy acidity. Drinking well now.||01.06.12|