We believe our vineyard site is incomparable. We also believe our Cabernets invite comparison with the best. Robert Parker gave the 2014 Slope a score of 95-97+ points, which has earned it a place at the absolute apex of the 2014 California Cabernets, alongside Screaming Eagle (97 points, $2499), Bryant Family (97+ points, $700), and Bond (97 points, $849). Showing beautiful blackberry, toast, brown sugar, cassis, and complex herbs and baking spices, the 2014 Slope is an august cuvée that miraculously manages to contain the magic of our special Spring Mountain site in one bottle. Robert Parker praised the Slope’s “riveting richness, concentration, texture and density,” and called it “legend in the making.” And collectors, take comfort: We have cellared the 2014 Slope and it is now ready to enjoy, but Parker believes the it “should age beautifully for 25-30+ years.”
2014 Viticultural Season
2014 was yet another dry year making it the third straight of drought in the region. Almost no rainfall in 2013 made for a superlative growing season however the continued lack of rain began to raise serious concerns for 2014 as our aquifers began running dry. We began implementing dryland farming techniques however with less than four inches of rainfall during the entirety of 2013 paired with the steeply graded terroir of the vineyard, the ground wasn’t charged with enough water to sustain the vines without a significant rain event. February and April storms came to the rescue however rainfall totals by June were less than half of typical amounts leading to a modest 2014 crop.
An overall warm growing year with occasional heat spells helped to develop tannins and concentrate fruit flavors classic to mountain Cabernet. We waited out two brief rainstorms in September to harvest the grapes in mid-October. Small berries with very thick skins gave our 2014 juice beautifully intense flavor.
Fruit was selected for harvest by taste, picking by small lots over the course of two weeks and, when ready, harvesting by hand. The clusters were sorted and destemmed before removing raisins and stem fragments from the berries. After crush, the fruit was held cold in tanks prior native fermentation and allowed to macerate on the skins for up to fifty days prior to gelte pressing. The juice was sent to French oak barrels to rest for twenty eight months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered.
Orientation, soil composition and slope gradient of specific lots on property make for the finest of mountain Cabernet fruit from which we select grapes to compose the Impassible Mountain. Two lots from the upper ridgeline were selected for this particular vintage for their power and pure expression of unique terroir. A study in focus and purity, this bottle’s concentration and structure will allow it to evolve and unfold for decades to come. This inimitable wine shows dense characters both savory and sweet: black fruit, raspberry, vanilla, clove, cocoa nib, tarragon, cedar, and black tea in endless recursive layers of flavor and texture.
The Slope represents the many aspects, elevations and exposures of this remarkable hillside vineyard. Individual lots from across the property were selected and blended to produce this August cuvée. The wine is dense, ripe and powerful, an effusive vortex of blackberry, toast, brown sugar, allspice, cassis, dark chocolate, earl grey tea, mint, anise, sugar cookie, chai, and tarragon. The palate is massive, but the fruit is sweet, supple and creamy. It is an experience that will bring you to our mountain, for there is no other place like it.