Aromas move between blue and red fruits, layered with carnation, cedar, sage, bay, and dusty lavender rounding out the inviting nose of classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Following a gentle attack showing dark fruit, supportive fine grain tannins yield to a bloom of raspberry and currant as the wine moves in a focused way through the mouth maintaining a collected embrace. The body of this wine speaks to its hillside core from Stagecoach block 17B and the nicely integrated contribution of Petite Sirah, showing as cocoa richness and dark chocolate providing grounding. The decrescendo wraps back into dark fruit and warmth of oak. Flavorful, luminous, elegant and spacious – depth and richness with smooth suede-like tannins. A study in balance, the 2017 Alpha Mare Red Wine is seriously delicious. The best of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon’s approachable complexity.
Full bodied and age-worthy. Easily another 5-7 years on 2023 release. Close to peak.
Warm nighttime temperatures in March pushed an early bud break for most varieties, setting the stage for a difficult April when a hail storm, surprised the nascent young shoots. The summer months were filled with little heat storms. The last one in early September was not so little, reaching 106F in “cooler” regions. Thankfully, the rest of September yielded to a welcome string of moderate days, with a thick marine layer lasting through mid morning.
We only had one-third of our red fruit harvested when, on October 8th, hot and dry offshore winds fueled the devastating fires which tore through many parts of Napa and Sonoma. The following days and weeks were fraught with tough decisions for many and tragedy for some.
The 2017 Alpha Mare Red Wine is a glimpse of vintage that could have been. The Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah were picked the week before the fire and the Stagecoach block, just 2 days before the firestorm. We remain grateful for the earlier ripening, lower yield sites on drainable soils that came to maturity in this warm vintage, just a hairs-breath before the firestorm allowing us to make this beautiful wine.