In 1975, Francis Ford Coppola purchased the historic Inglenook property, intent on restoring the estate’s legacy of creating world-class wines equal to those founder Gustave Niebaum and his grandnephew John Daniel Jr. made for decades. Inglenook CASK wines, which were originally produced between 1934 and 1964, have been judged by critics to be among the best Cabernets ever made. Since 1995, the Coppola family has produced a new era of CASK wines that are crafted in the same spirit as those made more than half a century ago.
By all accounts, 2011 was a difficult vintage. Not only was the growing season uncharacteristically cold, two heavy storms at critical times affected the harvest. The first rainy cold snap in early June, resulted in limited fruit set in certain vineyard blocks, which reduced our overall yield. The second storm, at the beginning of October, triggered a botrytis outbreak in several of the vineyards. Although the affected clusters were quickly removed, this further diminished our fruit yield for the season. The upside to having a smaller crop, however, is that the grapes develop a more intense fragrance and concentration.
Over the last few years, we’ve continued to refine the methods we use in crafting our Cabernet Sauvignon in order to create the most elegant wine possible. Even though we had less fruit to work with this vintage, we were very particular about our selections. Likewise, we’re getting better aromatic expression from the grapes as a result of the new destemmer we purchased, which is gentler on the fruit and causes less oxidation. We’ve also changed our fermentation techniques. Rather than using pump overs at scheduled intervals, we evaluate each individual block and consider which ones would benefit from added development. Together, these methods greatly enhance the quality of our Cabernet. This vintage, 50% of the barrels we used were new oak, 85% French oak and 15% American oak.
Subtle and round on the palate, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask offers fragrant notes of boysenberries, cherries, black currant and leather. Flavor intensity increases on the mid-palate with beautiful impressions of red fruits, spices, and coffee. This vintage bestows a supple texture with soft tannins and smooth, even transitions, giving it a particularly elegant style.
Appellation: Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA
Ensemble: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon 12% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot
Vineyard: Chateau, Cohn, Red Barn, Walnut, Garden, Bridge, La Lomita
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