2011 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Monitor Ledge Vineyard
Monitor Ledge takes its name from an outcropping in the mountains overlooking the vineyard. The fruit from Monitor Ledge has been an important component of Duckhorn Vineyards wine blends since 1985. Located on the alluvial fan of Selby Creek, the site is composed of cobblestones and a gravelly, sandy loam soil. Because water drains rapidly in the lean soil, the vines struggle to grow, and the resulting fruit has intensity and structure that make the wines from this vineyard unique. With excellent sun exposure, the fruit consistently ripens to ideal maturity. This vineyard is often the first we harvest, bringing us an early indication of the quality of the vintage to come.
Varietal Content: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot; Cooperage: 100% French oak Chateau-style barrels (60 gallons); Age of Barrels: 85% new, 15% second vintage
This wine displays a beautiful, layered nose with red fruit aromas of strawberry and cherry, supported by refined notes of hibiscus, French thyme, slate and leather. On the palate, seamless oak and balanced tannins underscore an elegant, food-friendly structure while supporting lovely flavors of maraschino cherry, rose hips and graham cracker piecrust.
In one of the coolest growing seasons in memory, we benefited greatly in 2011 from our 35 years of experience farming Bordeaux varietals. To counteract uneven vine growth due to unusual spring weather, we did meticulous green thinning. We also gently opened up the canopy to expose the fruit, were judicious in our picking schedule, and sorted meticulously both in the vineyards and winery. The majority of our Merlot came in before the October rains, and due to our quality adjustments the remainder of our fruit fared well until it was harvested. Warm up-valley locations like Oakville, Rutherford, St, Helena and Calistoga were particularly successful, and overall the resulting wines are pure and elegant.