Iridium is one of the rarest elements on earth. A very constrained and expensive resource, Iridium's uniqueness makes it incredibly valuable. Like the element, the Sterling Vineyards Iridium Cabernet Sauvignon is treasured. Made in only the very best vintages with the fi nest and most intense expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Iridium is the pinnacle of winemaking perfection.
“A wonderfully focused and creamy texture to this red with blueberries, blackberries and cedar. Some chocolate. The tannin texture is superb, giving pure-silk pleasure. Such depth. Crazy packaging. Serious wine! Drink or hold as long as you like.” - James Suckling, February 2020
Opulent, big, bold and a candidate to stand proudly alongside Napa’s finest cult wines, Iridium shows rich dark chocolate, caramel toffee and blackberries laced with oak spice, white pepper and black cherry. Firm, well-integrated tannins and a solid acid backbone give way to a richly decadent mouthfeel with lingering notes of mocha, cassis and classic Cabernet notes of graphite. Precious and rare, this is a wine that will continue to reveal itself over the next two decades.
Winter rains helped signal the end of the immediate drought, but vineyards had grown stressed after multiple challenging years, resulting in modest yields for the season. A dry January was followed by a wet February, and temperatures remained mild, encouraging an early bud break to begin the growing season. Showers arrived in April, slowing the rapid advance of flowering and set. Early by historical standards, after harvest began picks moved at a leisurely pace as winemakers waited for ever more complex flavors to develop. The extended season helped balance acids and allowed layers of flavors to emerge.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the signature variety of the Napa Valley and the appellation excels in producing outstanding expressions of this admired varietal. Napa Valley offers an ideal combination of topography, geology and climate that enables Cabernet Sauvignon to reach optimum ripeness, balance and finesse. And within the valley, there are exceptional vineyards and sub-appellations that produce some of the finest expressions of this noble grape. In Vintage 2016, winemaker Harry Hansen has selected notable lots from vineyards spanning Napa from South to North, including the Meigs Vineyard, Moore Ranch, Sleeping Lady Vineyard in Yountville and Calistoga’s Frediani Vineyard. The vineyards offer soils ranging from clay to tufa, with a variety of clones, exposures and ages, including older head trained vines.
Fruit was hand-harvested and hand-sorted, selecting only the highest quality fruit for fermentation in a combination of concrete, French Oak and stainless vessels. The concrete tanks, relatively new to the winery, offered a significant purity of expression. Fruit was allowed to ferment for up to 15 days with regular pump-overs to extract deep color and rich flavors. The wine was then gently pressed, racked and aged for 18 months in 93% new French oak from COF toasted medium/medium plus from a mix of coopers including Gamba, Remond, Taransaud, Allary and Quintessence. Barrels were tasted frequently before the final selection of only the most compelling lots for Iridium.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”
|Oak Treatment||Aged for 18 months in 93% new French oak|
|Blend||100% Cabernet Sauvignon|