2008 Stephanie Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine
A blend of all 5 Bordeaux varietals grown at the Hestan estate, winemaker Jeff Gaffner co-harvests and co-ferments many of the lots to add complexity and layers to the 2008 Stephanie Proprietary Red Wine.
A seductively layered blend, with a compelling nose of licorice, clove and sweet spice mingled with cedar, tobacco and black currant. Rich mocha notes unfold on the supple palate, lingering well into the long, elegant finish.
September & October 2008
28 months in 100% French Oak
Some co-fermentation of the Bordeaux varietals to add layers of complexity. Cold soak in small fermenters, with periodic punch downs and pump overs
Exotic violet and bottle brush notes, with layers of blackberry, black cherry, coffee and clove. Dusty tannins, a long, finely-structured finish.
Hestan Vineyards is a 56-acre vineyard located at the base of Okell Hill on Napa Valley’s eastern slopes. Individually farmed blocks planted to all five Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec – blanket the rolling hills overlooking the vineyard’s 11-acre pond.
900 cases produced.
Aged in 50% new and 50% one-year used French Oak barrels.
46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Petit Verdot, 16% Merlot, 12% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc
Winemaker Jeff Gaffner vinifies grape lots separately to retain individual block and varietal characters, but he also coferments some lots for added complexity and layers of flavor. Once in the cellar, the grapes are de-stemmed and cold soaked for 2-3 days in small fermenters, and then inoculated with a low rate of cultured yeast. Periodic punch downs and pump overs encourage softer extraction at lower alcohol levels. After pressing, the wines are sent to barrel to finish primary and secondary fermentation. Once finished, they are racked off the lees and returned to the same barrels for a total of 28 months aging.
The 2008 growing season was a good reminder that Mother Nature is not always on your side. A winter drought gave way to one of the coldest spring frosts on record. The growing season that followed was cooler than average until the first week in September when the mercury soared above 100 for a week straight. However nerve wracking for us, the roller coaster ride proved ideal for the grapes, producing smaller than average yields of concentrated fruit. After the heat spike in early September, temperatures remained cool, and we settled into a long, well-paced harvest season, which allowed the grapes to hang on the vine for an extended period, gaining balance and flavor intensity. In the end, the 2008 vintage ranks as one of the best of the decade for Napa Valley, producing wines of stellar structure, concentration, elegance and age-worthiness.