When some of our Malbec, Petite Syrah, and Petit Verdot were left over to be sold after not fitting into the Cabernet Sauvignon blend, we experimented by blending them all together, creating a rich, inky, and powerful “mountain” blend. It was so distinct and so delicious, that we decided to bottle it. With its backbone of Petite Syrah, this wine is a hedonistic blend. It is all fruit and muscle, framing itself after the traditional California field blend. Sunshine and warm days come to mind when you close your eyes and smell the aromas.
La Vaquera is “the cowgirl” in Spanish, and this wine is our little cowgirl. She isn’t following any rules. An untraditional blend and a bold character, this wine is always pushing the limits. Its flavors and spiced texture are excellent when paired with the most flavorful smoked meats or wild game. This is a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Stage Coach Vineyard on Atlas Peak and Petite Sirah from the Swickard Vineyard in the northern reaches of the warm Calistoga AVA.
This wine brings to mind all sorts of delicious sun warmed California fruits. The nose has a beautiful, delicate spun sugar character alongside robust aromas of fresh plum, powdery lilac, honey, raspberry leaf, and cotton candy. Once in the mouth, the texture is firm, with lots of sweetness of fruit effusive and aromatic in the mouth. There is an immediacy to the wine; it is generous, but not overwhelming. The delicious fruit lingers, but very lightly on a clean and concise finish.
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2017 is perhaps remembered with anxiety for most winemakers in California's North Coast. Warmer nighttime temperatures in March pushed an early bud break for most varieties, setting the stage for the difficulty in April when a hail storm surprised the nascent young shoots. The summer months were filled with lots of little heat storms, the last one in early September, not so little, reaching 106 in "cooler" regions. Thankfully, this was the last, and the rest of September yielded to a welcome string of cooler, more moderate days with a thick marine layer lasting through mid-morning.
Thankfully, we already had our Swickard vineyard fruit in the house when on October 8th hot and dry offshore winds fueled the devastating fires which tore through many parts of Napa and Sonoma.