This very limited bottling of 2014 Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon, demonstrates the unique characteristics of this single, outstanding clone during an exceptional vintage. Full of power and intensity, this Cabernet leaps from the glass with dark fruit aromas and flavors of black currant, blackberry, blueberry and dark plum, interwoven alongside more savory notes of black olive, black licorice, dried tobacco leaves, and toasted vanilla oak. The mouth-pleasing tannins are present, lush and textured, sure to soften and become more rounded as the wine ages, but are incredibly focused when enjoying the wine in its youth. This wine is opulent, concentrated and pronounced, exhibiting a muscular strength and intensity, like a bull fighter with incredible force, balance, energy and finesse. While enjoyable now, this wine will continue to develop complexity in the bottle and will age well for another 20+ years when stored at ideal cellar temperatures.
At our state-of-the-art winery, dedicated exclusively to the production of our Reserve wines, we hand sorted the destemmed berries of this clone to retain only the highest quality fruit. Cold soaking of the must and gentle punch-downs in open-top fermenters mixed the flavor-rich skins with the juice. Upon completion of primary fermentation, we pressed and transferred the wine to new French oak barrels for in-barrel malolactic fermentation and aging. Because of the uniqueness of the expression of this clonal selection of Cabernet Sauvignon, we treat this wine as a special lot or single vineyard wine.
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated grapes and high quality. February’s rains brought the total rainfall up to “low, but adequate”, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak in spring and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s beautifully ripened grapes.
In the 1880s, UC Davis professor Eugene Hilgard planted clone 6, which is also called the Jackson clone, at the university's field station at Jackson in the Sierra Foothills. It was abandoned until the last few decades, when it was rediscovered. In 1980, we began a 14-year series of trials in conjunction with UC Davis, to identify Cabernet Sauvignon clones best suited to our Rutherford Bench terroir. Two clones (numbers 4 & 6) were ultimately selected for grafting to rootstocks planted in the well-draining, alluvial fan soils of our estate vineyard. As a component of our Georges de Latour and other reserve Cabernet Sauvignons, Clone 6 has notably small loose clusters and small berries that yield highly concentrated, distinctive flavors structured by muscular tannins. Often referred to as our mountain fruit on the valley floor, this creates a Cabernet that is very concentrated with more structure and tannin.