1995 Calistoga Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon

The 1995 season was an interesting growing season. Right off the bat the year began with bud break which was the earliest since 1988. This was due to the moderate temperatures the first half of March. The following months of April, May, and June were all colder than normal, thus delaying all other critical stages of the growing season. Bloom, veraision, and harvest were all later than usual.

Even though the crop level was low to begin with, we had to go in and thin the Cabernet fruit for quality reasons. We also did bunch thinning in the Cabernet Franc. Ultimately it was a vintage where experience paid off.

With the uneven ripening, patience was the key to the harvesting of quality fruit this year. Due to the unusual weather that we had experienced the first half of the year, we really expected to get hammered with rain this harvest. We spent a lot of time studying weather charts and forecasts. Apparently Mother Nature decided to have mercy on us, and during October when most of our harvesting took place, we had great - no make that magnificent and miraculous - ripening weather. The last similar vintage with lower alcohol and higher acid levels is probably the 1985, but the '95 has much richer, ripe fruit.

vintage weather

Cool. Well above average rainfall. Bloom, veraison and harvest all later than normal. Great ripening weather for 6 weeks.

tasting notes

In this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot there is the typical dark color of Calistoga's Cabernet. It has a dense and broad nose, driven by rich Cabernet, cassis fruit, some perfume like blueberry high notes from Cab franc, and a hint of mint from the Merlot. Suffice it to say there's a lot going on in the nose of this wine.

The first palate impression is of broad, thick black fruit - great jam, soft tannin, super enjoyable. It really drinks soft, jammy and rich and has all the good things we look for in our Calistoga Cuvee. If you, like us, begin to enjoy this wine right away, it is best at room temperature - too cool makes it a little tight. After a couple of years in bottle it will soften more and drinking it at cellar temperature will be OK. Off to the bocce court with the Cuvee!

Harvest Date September 20 to October 22
Sugar At Harvest 22.4° to 24.5° brix average
Barrel Aging 12 to 16 months
Release Date September 1997
Alcohol 13.5%