"Very deep garnet-purple, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Fortitude has a blockbuster cassis and chocolate box nose with underlying blackberry preserves, dried mulberries, roses, damp soil and cedar box. Medium to full bodied, the palate is firmly structured with grainy tannins and a lively backbone cutting through the dense black fruit, finishing with perfumed layers." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
The 2014 Fortitude Cabernet presents both power and finesse in the highly extracted and concentrated aromas of dark blackberry and black cherry. There is amazing structure from the 2014 vintage, which supports an expansive palate saturated with blackberry liqueur, juicy black cherry, dark chocolate and black licorice. There are firm, brooding tannins with lots of layers and volume, finishing with tremendous length. This is a huge wine that can easily balance the sweet oak notes from the new French oak barrels. It will reward extended aging; decant first if you can’t wait. Only 246 cases produced.
To give the 2014 Fortitude its layered complexity, we selected Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from our favorite vineyards in different soils and mesoclimates of Napa Valley. Sourcing 70% from Hewitt Vineyard in the Rutherford AVA, located on alluvial fan soils on bench lands near the Mayacamas Mountains, which flank Napa Valley on the west. The next component (20% sourcing) was selected from the Sleeping Lady vineyard in Yountville, an impeccably-farmed vineyard nestled up against the western Yountville bench of the Mayacamas range as well. The balance came from Polaris Vineyard (10%), rooted in iron-rich, volcanic soils of the high Howell Mountain plateau on the valley’s east side.
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated grapes and high quality. February’s rains brought the total rainfall up from low to adequate, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak in spring and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s ripe, favorful grapes.
After hand harvesting the fruit, we gently sorted it first as clusters and again, after destemming, as grapes. Three days of cold soaking before fermentation gently extracted the deep purple color and rich varietal flavors from the skins. A portion of the wine was fermented in barrels, with the balance in stainless steel, to enhance the plush texture of the wine and integrate fruit and oak character. Following fermentation, extended skin contact and gentle pressing, the wine completed malolactic fermentation in barrels to round the acidity. Aging in entirely new French oak barrels wove toasty oak tones through the dark-fruit character.