Platinum is a wine designed to bring a singular thought to life: great wines come from great vineyards, and never so much as when the winemaking and winegrowing teams work hand in hand to carefully nurture the finest fruit toward a well-rewarded harvest. Sterling Vineyards Platinum is the ultimate expression of our Napa Valley winemaking expertise.
“Extremely perfumed with crushed raspberries and plums. Some roses and other flowers. Full-bodied, round and rich. Opulent, yet fresh and delicious. Drink or hold.” - James Suckling, February 2020
Platinum is a wine designed to bring a singular thought to life: great wines come from great vineyards, and never so much as when the winemaking and winegrowing teams work hand in hand to carefully nurture the finest fruit toward a well-rewarded harvest. In this vintage, Platinum Cabernet exhibits the purity of fruit expression, polished tannins and rich texture that are the essential signature of this rich, full-bodied wine. As the drought subsided fruit was more expressive, showing aromas and flavors of red and dark fruit such as Bing cherry, with notable vanilla essence from the American oak. The wine is well integrated, nicely structured with medium tannins that suggest a possibility for at least some cellaring. Recognizable cabernet highlights such as mocha, cassis and caramel toffee join with white pepper spice, leading to a lingering, lasting impression. A beautiful expression of Napa’s varied growing regions.
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. Harvest began in mid-September and 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 examples 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, truly Platinum worthy. In Vintage 2016, winemaker Harry Hansen has selected notable lots from vineyards spanning key Napa Valley growing regions, including the Meigs Vineyard in Wooden Valley, Moore Ranch in Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain Ranch, Peterson Ranch and a trio of notable Calistoga vineyards, including Bear Flats, Barlow Ranch and BV Ranch 12. A small amount of Malbec and Petit Verdot came from the Bale Lane vineyard. The vineyards offer soils ranging from clay loam to tufa, with a variety of clones, exposures and ages.
Fruit was hand-harvested and hand-sorted, selecting only the highest quality fruit for fermentation in concrete, oak and stainless vessels. 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 20 months in a combination of 50% French (50% new) and 25% each American and Hungarian oak. Barrels are COF toasted medium/medium plus from a mix of coopers including Gamba, Remond, Taransaud, Allary and Quintessence. Individual barrels are aged separately and are tasted frequently before the final selection of only the most compelling candidates for Platinum.
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||20 months in French, Hungarian, American Oak (50% new)|
|Blend||93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot|