VINTAGE NOTES: The winter of 2017 and 2018 marked a return to normal cool temperatures in California. The rains were abundant in February, then diminished by April, when budbreak occurred the first week. During the bloom, the vines flowered uniformly during the second week of June for our Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortunately, there was only one heat wave, lasting a mere couple of days at the end of June, during the end of the bloom. The growing season happened under excellent weather conditions: very dry with mild temperatures between 80º and 90ºF. For the county of Napa Valley, this is a trouble-free vintage characterized by mild weather with a long, unseasonably warm autumn. Veraison occurred during the first and second weeks of August. Harvest dates were from October 12 to 17, with a daily picking schedule. It was a very intense harvest because the dry weather made the de-leafing required in the vineyard especially extensive. On the other hand, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes benefited from warm days and cool nights. The yields of 2 tons per acre were low except for the new plantation, blocks 10 and 11. We faced some difficult decisions to pick fully ripe without excessive sugar content (which is rare) in each block. The acidity level was low, with almost no malic acid left at the harvest date. This vintage has both high quantity and high quality of tannins. It is a strong and safe vintage for collectors and connoisseurs.
WINEGROWING NOTES: Located in the heart of the Oakville AVA’s famed red dirt in Napa Valley, ‘Au Paradis’ is exactly where its name translates, “In Heaven.” Planted in the foothills on the east side of the valley on a raised, gently sloping plateau, the Bordeaux varietals develop into a classic style with silky tannins and deep red fruit. Between 500 and 600 feet, 26 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot look down on the valley and across to the Mayacamas Mountains. The slope and hillside location provide ideal sun exposure during the day and help develop the lush, intense fruit one would expect from such a magnificent property.
WINEMAKER'S TASTING NOTES: The 2018 ‘Au Paradis’ appears near-black to ruby in color with perfumed aromas of red rose and distinct black currant and cassis. Equally, the flavor delivers dark fruit reminiscent of plum and crème de cassis aside bright and savory notes of raspberry, rose petal, and graphite. Well-rounded on the palate, showing refinement with complexity and the hallmark aromas and flavors characteristic of the acclaimed iron-rich, red dirt soils of Oakville. Approachable now, the wine will reward five years of cellaring and will continue to age gracefully for two decades or more.
Hand-harvested: October 8 to October 17
Blend: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc
Aged: 18 months in 100% French oak barrels from select artisan coopers
Bottled unfiltered: May 14, 2020
Release date: September 1, 2021