Tasting Notes

Bottle Shots


Straight On

Estate Weather Summaries

  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s
  • 2020s

1972 – Cool Variable
But almost too bizarre to categorize. Insufficient winter rains. Bad spring frosts. Record heat in July caused considerable damage. Rainfall at crush. One of the worst years in memory. All Cabernet Sauvignon was declassified.

1973 – Cool Variable
Normal winter, warm spring. Long, cool growing season. Record crop. Excellent maturity. Clean fruit.

1974 – Temperate
Cool spring with a touch of frost. Long, cool summer. Ideal ripening conditions during crush. Excellent, well-balanced fruit. A memorable vintage.

1975 – Cool Variable
Very cool growing season. Some rains at harvest, but not enough to cause much trouble. Late harvest. Fruit had great balance. Wines notable for elegance and finesse.

1976 – Warm
First drought year. Fruit had high sugars, low acids. Vineyards stressed. Early August – September crush.

1977 – Warm
Second drought year. A little bit cooler than 1976. Growers more prepared for low water. Vines still somewhat stressed, but the fruit had good balance and concentration. Long, cool, crush.

1978 – Temperate
Good winter rains. Long and warm growing season. Late heat led to a somewhat compressed harvest. High extract and body with well-balanced fruit.

1979 – Cool
Early spring heat waves caused uneven set. Cool growing season, followed by rains at harvest. Early picking resulted in well-balanced, clean fruit.

1980 – Warm
Coolest growing season on record, but heat wave at crush ripened grapes nicely. Intense, well-balanced fruit. Great potential on these wines.

1981 – Cool Variable
Dry year. Extreme heat waves in June but cooler in late summer. One of the shortest growing seasons on record. Low yields, very concentrated wine.

1982 – Cool
Wet winter, cool spring. Record crop, thinned 5 times to lower the yield. Mid-September rains caused some problems, but we finished picking before major storms in October. Big wines, clean, fat and juicy berries.

1983 – Cool Variable
Record winter rains. Crop down 20% from 1982. Cool spring gave way to a heat spell in mid-July that caused damage. Early crush with a moderate sized crop. Good maturity, clean, balanced fruit.

1984 – Warm
Very heavy late fall-early winter rains, but no late winter rains resulted in warm soils and early bud break. Hot spring and summer, shortest growing season on record. Fruit very clean, big, with surprisingly good balance.

1985 – Cool Variable
No late winter rains resulted in early bud break with a long, moderate growing season. Dry, cool fall weather during crush, long harvest. Excellent fruit and balance.

1986 – Temperate
Heavy winter rains in February and March followed by a warm spring led to early bud break. Growing season even longer than 1985. Wines rounder, softer than 1985; a few late season rains posed no major problems.

1987 – Warm
Drier than normal winter and a hot spring resulted in significant shatter. Late summer heat led to early crush. Yield was light, wine is very concentrated.

1988 – Warm
Relatively dry winter, warm spring, early bud break. Rainy weather at bloom reduced crop size. Hot summer and a long crush. Like ’87, low production and concentrated wines.

1989 – Cool Variable
Low rainfall and a cool spring, but warm weather late. Crop thinning insured even ripening. The wine is highly extracted with significant body and structure.

1990 – Temperate
Low rainfall, droughty conditions, then heavy rain during bloom reduced yield by 50%. Remaining year was routine with good ripening and good fruit development. Complex and concentrated wine.

1991 – Cool
Light winter rains but good March precipitation helped soil moisture through to harvest. Cool growing season with warming right at harvest, so everything got nice and ripe. Fairly big crop with very good maturity and concentration of flavors.

1992 – Temperate
Low rainfall, with classic warm days and cool nights throughout the season. Harvest started a little earlier than normal. Cooling trend after Labor Day allowed for more hang time and strong flavor development.

1993 – Cool
Average rainfall with some rain every month through June. Cool spring and cool weather at harvest, good fruit maturation. Crop size average, excellent flavor development.

1994 – Temperate
Low rainfall, with classic warm days and cool nights all season long. Overcast mornings and warm afternoons all the way from veraison through harvest. Grapes ripened steadily and harvest was very orderly. Crop size above average, with excellent maturation and flavors.

1995 – Cool
Well above average rainfall. Bloom, veraison and harvest all later than normal. Great ripening weather for 6 weeks.

1996 – Warm
Average rainfall. Mild winter, untimely spring rains and intense summer heat resulted in low vineyard yields. Ripening weather in September-October was excellent. Lightest crop size since 1988, very high extraction and very concentrated juice.

1997 – Temperate
Average rainfall, warm winter and spring, mild summer. Slow ripening and wonderful weather during harvest, warm days and cool mornings. Large crop, the wine is very dense and extremely flavorful.

1998 – Cool
Well above average rainfall, cold and rainy throughout the early to middle growing season. Warm and dry July and August, cool September and wonderful ripening weather in October. Average crop size, great flavors and ripeness, extremely well-balanced.

1999 – Temperate
Average rainfall, cool spring and summer, excellent October weather. Below average crop size, the fruit attained full ripeness and flavors. Very good fruit chemistry.

2000 – Cool
Average rainfall. Growing season dominated by cool weather and spikes of intense heat. Cluster loss from windy heat in June kept yield low. The light crop allowed full ripening and harvesting before the onset of wet weather. The wine is very refined, high quality.

2001 – Temperate
Well below average rainfall. Frost damage followed by high heat in May that caused some shatter kept yields low. Remainder of season was mild and grapes attained full maturity before picking. Started night picking to increase fruit integrity. Wines are very rich, well-balanced, and full.

2002 – Cool Variable
Rainfall was right at average for the season, but most came in November-December. A challenging vintage with a generally cool growing season, lack of spring rain and excessive heat at harvest. Vine stress and very small berry size led to a very low yield crop, especially in Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are concentrated with good flavor and balance.

2003 – Temperate
Early bud break, followed by late rains and cool weather in April. Excellent growing conditions all summer. A few days of heat in September brought the first wave of Harvest, followed by temperate weather through October. With the dual conditions during Harvest, wines show a distinctive blend of cool and hot vintage characteristics.

2004 – Temperate
Well above average rainfall for the year, most of which fell November through February. March was dry and warm, causing early bud break. Moderate temperatures extended bloom, resulting in much shatter and a lighter crop. September began hot but moderated through harvest. The wines show concentrated fruit with fine, ripe tannins.

2005 – Temperate
After a cool and wet spring, a very mild and overall good weather pattern prevailed for the remaining season, providing ideal conditions for flavor and fruit chemistry development. Wines show similarities to 1986, where we enjoyed delicious, fully mature fruit without excess sugar, and with good acidity.

2006 – Cool
Higher than average early rainfall in a season dominated by cool weather delayed bud break, ripening, and ultimately harvest timing. August and September ushered in ideal ripening conditions with no rainfall. The long growing season and extended hang time for the fruit ensured full, complex flavor development and produced an exciting and complex wine.

2007 – Temperate
A winter dry spell was broken by a sufficient amount of rainfall in February and then continued into a dry spring. The dry months allowed us time to finish pruning and tying before an early bud break in March. A moderate summer provided ideal ripening weather. The rising temperatures at the end of August pushed us into harvest and eventually cooled in September so that we ended up with a wine with firm acidity and fine grained tannins.

2008 – Cool Variable
Cold, dry winter conditions set us up for risk of freezing at bud break and required that we implement frost protection on many mornings in April. Rising temperatures, combined with wind in May, resulted in some shatter and lower crop yields than previous years. The summer months were good to us and we saw excellent flavor development in the grapes. The hot days and cool nights resulted in a complex and concentrated wine.

2009 – Cool Variable
After a typical spring, the remainder of 2009 was relatively cool until September when we had excellent warm weather. May through August was a repetition of warm periods, followed by cool periods for an extended time which gave a delayed start to vintage expectation. However, excellent warm to hot weather in September moved the start of harvest up a bit. There were no severe high-heat drying wind events, which was a relief, and that contributed to another very successful vintage. The overall harvest operation was smooth and steady.

2010 – Cool Variable
Cool weather persisted throughout the growing season. This led to extended time on the vine which finally achieved full ripening during a late season heatwave. As we had kept our canopies in place, this helped achieve ideal ripening prior to a later than usual harvest.

2011 – Cool
Warm weather teased us for much of the season but never permanently settled in. By April, we had an inkling that a late harvest was on the horizon. July arrived and a cautious sense of optimism materialized along with some sorely missed sunshine; however, the cold nights continued to persist, the fog lingered, and the heat from the Nevada desert stayed far, far away. With harvest approaching, we recognized the textbook Bordelaise flavor profile in the developing fruit and embraced the bright acid profile and soft textures that would come to be hallmarks of this vintage.

2012 – Temperate
Our porous alluvial soils and craggy volcanics soaked up the late spring rains, which, coupled with copious sunshine and moderate temperatures, set the stage for an ideal growing season. By August, as most of the Valley dealt with triple digit highs, reliable northerly breezes materialized by mid-afternoon as the substantial heat inland drew in ocean air from the Pacific, which thundered down Mt. St. Helena to cool our Estate. In short, the fruit from this vintage experienced the best of what this vineyard can offer, allowing us to craft a wine of elegance, structure, and finesse.

2013 – Warm
Early winter rains and dry spring weather combined to induce just enough early stress in our vines to stimulate the development of rich texture and body, characteristic of our Estate Cabernet. The long, warm summer that followed, coupled with good yields, brought each block into balance quite quickly requiring little intervention and encouraging uniform ripening. The result is an age-worthy wine that showcases the classic balance of Old World structure and New World ripeness.

2014 – Warm
Budbreak did not arrive abnormally early despite the relatively warm winter and widespread concern over low rainfall. Mild weather, coupled with plenty of cool nights extended the growing season. In general, harvest was steady with no major rain events. Conditions were ideal.

2015 – Warm
A relatively warm winter set the stage for another year of drought in California. Budbreak occurred early in Calistoga, increasing the risk for vine-damaging frost, but our concerns were allayed as spring proved to be mild and uneventful. As June and July arrived, the weather remained temperate providing additional hang-time for flavor maturity and color development in the fruit. As is usually the case, the light crop turned out to be of excellent quality.

2016 – Temperate
Late winter rains primed the soil for early vine growth in the spring, with bright summer days unfolding in textbook fashion. There was plenty of warmth, cool afternoon breezes, and a few hot days through July. During the critical month of August, as the vines enter the final period of ripening, temperatures remained moderate and predictable, allowing us to slowly and methodically harvest with flavors and textures at their peak.

2017 – Warm
A very wet, cool winter followed by a moderate spring seemed to portend another temperate, classic vintage. However, the summer had other ideas as the weather pattern peppered intense heat, dry winds, and very little marine layer amidst already warm conditions. An intricate understanding of ripening along with a deft hand in the vineyard were required to take advantage of anomalously short picking windows to achieve exemplary fruit flavors and aromas. It was an exciting and worthy challenge for our veteran crew.

2018 – Temperate
This routine growing season started with productive rains in March and April. Ideal Napa Valley weather continued throughout the summer with bursts of typical heat waves. Unusually low nighttime temperatures coupled with warm to hot days magnified the acidity in the fruit, creating elegant structure for extending aging, rather than overtly jammy flavor. Harvest was slow and methodical as subtle variations in soil and sun exposure magnified the typically nuanced differences in ripening and maturation.

2019 – Temperate
Late rains in May drove vine growth well into the summer months. With plentiful leaves and healthy canopies, the grape berries were able to mature slowly and cohesively in mottled sunlight. As harvest approached both day and nighttime temperatures warmed consistently before moderating once again in early September; ideal for flavor and aroma expression.

2020 – Warm
The 2020 vintage was marked by a warm, dry spring with a late shot of rain in May that replenished soil moisture ahead of summer. The heat arrived on schedule, accelerating the growing season by roughly two weeks, and concentrating the flavors in the fruit. Yields were below average but quality was excellent.  

2021 – Moderate
A warm spring initiated early budbreak and vine development. The weather remained mild and the growing season leaped forward with the first significant heat arriving in May. Bloom was punctuated by very warm temperatures, which reduced fruit set and the overall size of the crop. Despite the low yields, what remained was excellent. Harvest was methodical and predictable, allowing for the development of complex flavors and textures.

2022 – Warm
The dry, mild winter triggered early budbreak in the vineyard and an ensuing long frost season. Thankfully, spring warmed up quickly and transitioned to a beautiful warm summer. While there was significant heat over Labor Day weekend that accelerated ripening and reduced the crop size, the growing season was already leaning early so the lasting effect was mostly increased concentration and flavor in the berries.  

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