Our 2015 Winemaker’s Reserve is the perfect blend to showcase the nuances of this wonderful vintage. Crafted as a Bordeaux-style blend, this red jumps from the glass with vibrant aromas of cherry, raspberry and cassis alongside Christmas spice cake aromas. On the palate, the blend continues to show bright cherry and red berry fruit notes which unfold harmoniously alongside hints of delicate young rose perfume and dusty fine-grained tannins that dance across your palate on the lengthy finish. The Cabernet Sauvignon component delivers rich cassis and blackberry character as well as a powerful structure to the blend, while the Merlot tames the tannins with its silky, soft mid-palate and notes of sour cherry and dark chocolate. Cabernet Franc adds a hint of savory wild thyme and gives even more complexity to the upfront fruit profile, as does Malbec with its juicy plum note. Lastly, the seductive floral hint comes from the Petit Verdot. New French oak barrels provide the final layers of this blend, adding baking spices and a vanilla, caramel sweet toast on the finish.
Each grape variety was grown in the specific mesoclimate and soils of Napa Valley where it is able to achieve its most outstanding character. A significant portion of the wine was grown in our estate vineyards. The Cabernet Sauvignon came from the St. Helena, Rutherford and Yountville American Viticultural Areas (AVAs); the Merlot from the Oakville and Los Carneros AVAs; the Cabernet Franc from the Calistoga AVA; the Malbec from the Mt. Veeder AVA and the Petit Verdot was grown in the Rutherford AVA.
Although in 2015 we received three-quarters of our normal rainfall, the cumulative effect of four years of drought in Napa Valley resulted in a light crop. Fortunately, the vintage made up for the small quantity by yielding outstanding grape quality. The small clusters and dry, warm conditions promoted an early, condensed harvest that kept us hopping. At Provenance, we began the harvest picking Sauvignon Blanc on August 8 and wrapped up the vintage with Cabernet Sauvignon by October 12. The wines of 2015 are known for their highly concentrated, complex flavors.
After hand harvesting the fruit and then hand sorting it twice at the winery, we gently destemmed the grapes to retain at least 60 percent whole berries. 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 out the acidity. Aging in French oak barrels wove toasty oak tones through the dark-fruit character.