2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Jericho Canyon
This is a 40-acre vineyard at the base of Mt. St. Helena, northeast of Calistoga. Very steeply terraced, it was planted in 1990 and 1993. The soil is a shallow clay-loam atop white volcanic ash, which provides excellent drainage and limits yields to between 1.4 and 2.7 tons per acre. Our seventh vintage from this vineyard (counting the three made at Rudd), we consider 2004 to be among the best, comparable to 2002—showing a bit less baby fat, with more classic elegance. A precociously early vintage, we harvested the blocks that went into this blend over the thirty days from the 10th of September to the 9th of October (fully half of this vineyard ends up in our Claret each year). At 76% Cabernet Sauvignon (23% Merlot & 2% Cabernet Franc), we finally declared the wine as a Cabernet on the label, after years of calling it Red Wine in the fine print.