Our winery is a diverse business with over twenty-six individual vineyard blocks scattered across Napa and Sonoma. From the best of our fruit we make a small quantity of Reserve Wines in the style of some of the world's greatest wines.
Reserve Wines - Cabernet Dominant
Because terroir, the sense of place, is important we grow Cabernet Sauvignon in three separate vineyards, each producing exquisite fruit and wines which then become a palette for our palates. We have spent twenty-five years developing our own vineyard management and winemaking techniques to produce a series of rich, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon based wines that taste the way you would expect France's best Bordeaux Premier Cru Classé wines to taste after years of aging.
- 85% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 10% Merlot
- 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot
. . . Background of Inspire Cabernet Sauvignon
Why "Inspire" - In 1707 The London Gazette described Lafite wines as “New French Clarets” inspiring French vintners to focus on developing high quality red wines in Bordeaux.
- 89% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 9% Merlot
- 2% Cabernet Franc
Why "Ingénue" - Not chosen for the original list of Premier Cru Classé in 1855, Château Mouton Rothschild was the innocent young estate that deserved better recognition. In 1973 after a long fight by the original Baron's grandson Baron Philippe, Château Mouton Rothschild achieved the status of Premier Cru Classé (Classified First Growth)
- 87% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 8% Merlot
- 3% Cabernet Franc
- 2% Petit Verdot
Why "Impulse" - In 1977 investor André Mentzelopoulos, acting on impulse, purchased Château Margaux at a time when Bordeaux wines were in serious economic crisis. André invested heavily without any hope of immediate return in a subdued market, however the 1978 vintage was immediately recognized as exceptional. Today Château Margaux continues experiencing unprecedented success.
Why "Stagecoach" - Stagecoach Vineyard rests 1,850 feet above Napa Valley, one side on Pritchard Hill and the other on Atlas Peak. With south-facing slopes and shallow, volcanic soils, the site’s rugged terroir is ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes rich with mineral and mountain flavors. This rugged terrain first made history in the 1800s, when the gentleman bandit known as Black Bart, robbed the daily stagecoach that traveled over the hill from St. Helena to Monticello.
Why Sovereign [sov·er·eign] - a leader possessing ultimate power and the largest value British gold coin produced seemed to well represent the greatest wine you have ever tasted.
Reserve Wines - Meritage Style
If we just had a little Cabernet Franc, perhaps a little Malbec, Petit Verdot and of course some great Merlot - we might just make a few great blends.
Mélange is a French term for a mixture, a term we use as synonymous with Meritage.
- 44% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 45% Merlot
- 11% Cabernet Franc
Why "Intrigue" - as the first "Claret" Haut-Brion wines became the world's first luxury brand intriguing to the rest of the world who then began to appreciate fine Bordeaux wines.
- 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 52% Merlot
- 46% Cabernet Franc
Why "Cherish" - one of the first vineyard areas in France, in 1587 its owner specified that "the farmers will live there when the sun goes down to keep an eye on the vines." A century later on the eve of the French Revolution, there were still two winegrowers living full-time at Cheval Blanc refusing to leave their cherished vineyards.
- 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 88% Merlot
- 2% Cabernet Franc
. . . Background of Ravish Mélange
Why Ravish - it will hold you spellbound with a feeling of delight, filled with wonder and enchantment from this incredible soft yet powerful wine.
- 72% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 25% Merlot
- 2% Cabernet Franc
- 1% Petit Verdot
Why "Interlude" - in 1378 Château Latour was a fortress manned by Breton soldiers besieged by an Anglo-Gascon army. Following its capture Latour became a farming area and after a brief interlude was re-purposed with vineyards and a winery.
Reserve Wines - Single Vineyard
Single Vineyard indicates that the grapes come from a single vineyard site due to the site's superiority of a combination of grape growing elements such as soil, topographical features, water, sunlight and the day and night climatic conditions. All of these elements need to be in balance and harmony for premium grape production.
English seafarers delivered the first vines to Australia in 1788 which today is one of the world’s largest wine producers. Vineyards thrive in the coastal areas such as McLaren Vale and river valleys such as Barossa where many high-quality cult wines are made, most based on the region's signature grape, Shiraz including such iconic wines as Penfolds Grange, Henschke's Hill of Grace, Torbreck's The Laird and d'Arenberg's The Dead Arm. Our tribute to these great Australian Icon wines is our Elate Grange Cuvée . . . more
Reserve Wines - Frequently Asked Questions
By design our Reserve Wines are made from our finest fruit, are given the most care and time throughout fermentation, taking four times times as long as a usual winemaking duration and then allowed to age gracefully for two years in French Oak barrels especially designed for each individual wine. Generally these wines are not fined or filtered, preserving their full flavor allowing them to fully express their sense of place.
Most are developed using traditional winemaking guidelines developed over centuries by some of the world's greatest wine houses.
Naturally the first conclusion is their terroir, everything that influences the grape in its growth and development; or was it winemaking technique; the process; the barrels; perhaps the blends; and then élevage, the ageing process, why do they need to age so long to bring out their nuances of flavor?
On trips to Australia and France we visited with winery owners and winemakers to walk their vineyards with them, to review their winery equipment and techniques, to taste and discuss their wines. We found that their terroir has similarities with some specific vineyards in Northern California; they employ similar winemaking techniques and the barrels are identical with those we use right here in the USA, same forest, same trees, same cooper, same toasting levels.
It occurred to us that if we used the same varieties of grapes from similar terroir, made with the same quality techniques, aged in the same barrels and blended with a similar formula, we could produce a wine in the same style as one of the world's great wines.
With fifteen years of experience making exceptional Napa and Sonoma wines we reviewed the previous ten years of blending formulae from the greatest French and Australian wines and developed our own blending models.
We took some of the finest fruit from our award winning Napa and Northern Sonoma vineyards to produce these Reserve Wines each inspired as a counterpart to one of the greatest French, Australian and Spanish wines. The happy result of that experiment is the development of our own style, favoring bright fruit, complexity and vineyard character, with a hint of the covert opulence you would expect from such great wines.
Read a little more > French Style California Wines . . .