The Grand Finale: our 2017 Saint Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

It has been a long time coming to get Cabernet Sauvignon back into the MTGA lineup. A few of you likely remember, and potentially still have, some of our 2015 Block #2 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was our first foray into the world of Napa Valley Cabernet and we have been aching to try and make it a staple in our lineup since.

Unfortunately the continuation of this was halted in 2016 when a tree went down and knocked down a deer fence. The grapes were thoroughly enjoyed by many woodland creatures we imagine, but that did mean not a drop to drink for us. While we could have tried to purchase fruit from another vineyard source last minute we opted to hold off so that we had less pressure on our pocket book through the end of the year.

That choice ended up being incredibly fortuitous as we tracked down some killer Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon to purchase and work with in 2017. Veeder Cabernet has been a long time favorite of mine though it can be difficult to track down. It seems as though there are only a few producers that hang their hat on that particular hillside which made it even more enticing. In conjunction with that, Mount Veeder Cabernet tends to be much more restrained. It is a challenge to get it to totally ripen each year and can have fairly low-yields.

We also had realized between the 2016 and 2017 harvest that we have been making some pretty awesome Merlot over the years. With that we wanted to ensure that it also played a role in our Cabernet program. Sourcing our Cabernet from Mount Veeder became an even better choice as it would meld very well with the St. Helena Merlot we have been utilizing for the better part of a decade.

The production of our 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon followed a very similar profile to that of our Single Barrel Merlot. Small tweaks were made to the barrel program, largely due to the blending we would need to do prior to bottling. Our initial blending trials in May included 10% Merlot. At that time it also meant that this wine had seen about 90% new French oak as well. In July, about one month from bottling, we went back through our blending trials and upped the Merlot percentage to 19%. This did a few things:

  1. Ensured that this 2017 release would be ready to go by the end of September/early October

  2. Smoothed out the rough tannins that had become more prevalent in the wine in just a couple months.

  3. It also REALLY helped add that extra “yum” factor as well by adding more layers of red fruit and toasty oak characteristics.

Since we largely focus on wines that are 100% varietal it was very fun for us to build this wine out of the different lots that we had available to us. It also opened the door for some fun projects in the future (wink wink nudge nudge).

The one thing that the blend ended up doing was push this new release from a sub-appellation to the larger Napa Valley appellation (ie more that 15% of the wine is coming from an appellation outside of Mount Veeder). As a result we decided to be a little clever and combine the names to “Saint Veeder” to tell the story of both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that make up this new release.

The end result after blending and bottling has been outstanding. It is big and bold enough for any Cabernet lover but has that Napa silkiness that allows it to be enjoyed sooner rather than later.

Similar to our St. Helena Single Barrel our 2017 Saint Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon is only available through our MTGAllocation wine club. We do have a small amount still available, including a selection of magnums, three and six liter bottles! Be sure to sign up for the “wait list” and we will be in touch shortly thereafter with the bottles that we still have available.

Cheers!

-Manderson