We love the names old timers have given their vineyards. It makes us feel like we are stars in a John Wayne movie. For thirty years we have been buying Cabernet from Eaglepoint Vineyards' Red Hill, a site so pretty you expect wild horses to appear on the ridge. This mountain vineyard sits at 1,800 feet above the town of Talmage. The weather is moderated by ocean breezes and the nights are cold, especially at the end of the season. Most years the grapes are harvested late and develop an herbal, briary and tobacco flavor profile. In years when the harvest is early, before the nights turn cold, a different taste contour emerges from the riper fruit: black cherry, huckleberry and cassis. This 2004 reminds us of the 1994 vintage; an early warm season created a wine with the same yummy fruit-forward palate. 2004 also marks the entry of another imaginatively named vineyard into our Cabernet cuvée. Just below Eaglepoint, on the Talmage bench, is Berry Vineyards.
Rattlesnake Canyon at harvest time. By 2006 Rattlesnake Canyon had become 50% of Navarro's Cabernet Sauvignon cuvée. There are rattlesnakes in inland Mendocino County but in the Anderson Valley you are much more likely to meet a gopher snake. Since gopher snakes eat vineyard pests we're glad to have them.
Over 36% of our 2004 Cabernet was declassified into Navarrouge, leaving only the best lots for this bottling. Casey, at Eaglepoint Vineyards, inspected the quality of the grapes for this bottling at harvest five years ago.
They have a Cabernet site in a horseshoe canyon that protects the vines from the wind and is so steep the terraces are hard to climb. The name for this warm, rocky site is Rattlesnake Canyon and yes, the winemaker does wear sturdy boots while inspecting the grapes. After two years in the barrel the blend of wines from Red Hill and Rattlesnake Canyon is full with deep dark fruit flavors corralled with briar, white chocolate and vanilla. So partner... belly on up and taste a bit of the Wild West. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.
Jim hiking up the Canyon in spring.