Brilliant medium deep to deep ruby, pure red through and through; intensely ripe aroma, sweet oak, dried plums, pipe tobacco, black figs and violets; assertive on the palate with medium-full body, youthful grainy texture, mineral and black pepper flavors. This is pure Cabernet fruit, with more development to come.
The year began with rain, then unusually hot weather in March kicked off the growing season. Five more inches of rain in May kept the vines healthy and vigorous, delayed bloom and fruit set, and assured us of a large crop. Summer was pleasant and mild, but by September's foggy mornings, growers and winemakers began to squirm about ripening. Just in time, several days of ninety-plus temperatures at the end of the month got the harvest off and running. And run it did, through another five inches of rain and all the way into November.
On land that has supported vines since the 1880s, the Home Vineyard was the third property planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in what became the Stags Leap District, and fruit from this property helped establish the area's reputation in the 1970s. SOLO is produced entirely from grapes grown in this vineyard, which stretches across the rocky terraces and gentle slopes between the Silverado Trail and the Napa River. It displays all the ripe and complex fruit, supple texture, and solid structure that helped define the District, the most distinctive Cabernet-growing region in the Napa Valley.
We picked at 24.0° Brix, with yields of 4.2 tons to the acre, high for the Home Vineyard. Warm fermentation was followed by an extended maceration of 29 days on the skins, in order to develop complex tannins. The wine averaged 16 months in barrels, 21 percent new and 83 percent French oak. The 1,335 cases of this all-Cabernet blend were bottled in September 2005.