Sterling has more than five decades of winemaking excellence in Napa Valley, and winemaker Harry Hansen is able to build from that experience to select the finest lots to create the most memorable expressions of the varietal for each vintage. Key to the signature Sterling style is the contribution of fruit from our home base surrounding Calistoga, where fully ripe fruit offers soft tannins, black fruit profiles and approachability, alongside the firmer tannins evident in fruit from Diamond Mountain, offering great balance in the final assemblage and cuvée.
"Cassis, redcurrants, fresh herbs, raspberries and red licorice. Medium-bodied with good savoryness to bolster the red berries and acidity crunch." - James Suckling, May 2019
The power of Napa shows in the rich, deeply red garnet color with aromas and flavors of dark red and black fruits, including black cherry, raspberry, blackberry and ripe plum. Notes of mocha, oak spice and cassis are accented with sea salt caramel and vanilla bean. Intense and full-bodied, the wine is balanced and well-structured with seamless acidity and evident but pleasing tannins. Approachable and welcoming now, the wine will continue to evolve and reveal more of its personality over the next decade.
The extended drought was creating concern as the 2016 growing season began, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at relief to come. After a relatively dry January there was significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. The first noticeable fall rainstorm arrived mid-October, but offered no threat to the fruit. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Fruit was harvested as winemaker called the pick from September 14 to October 19, 2016.
Cabernet Sauvignon reigns king in 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 this varietal to reach optimum ripeness, balance and finesse. For this vintage, grapes were sourced primarily from traditional vineyards such as BV12 and Bear Flats Ranch in Calistoga, the Peterson Ranch and Diamond Mountain Ranch in the Diamond Mountain district, along with the Moore Ranch near the north shore of Lake Hennessey. The Calistoga appellation, our winery home, is one of the warmest areas in the valley but has extreme diurnal shifts, allowing the grapes to enjoy cool nights which maintain excellent acidity.
At our newly renovated reserve winery, each lot is kept separate until the final blending, allowing for the selection of the most expressive and unique barrels to combine in the final blend. Each of these lots aged for 16 months in a combination of French, European and American oak barrels. Once ready, the barrels are carefully evaluated and only those reflecting the true hallmarks of the Napa Valley are selected for the final Napa Valley blend.
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 16 months in a combination of French, European and American oak barrels.|