LIMITED EDITION 377 cases
VINEYARD Multiple Napa Valley sites, including Bella Vista Vineyard in Calistoga, Rapp Ranch in Coombsville and Hills Vineyard in Rutherford
WINEMAKER Before co-founding AuburnJames with brother and sister Matt Ospeck and Mary Anne Cope, Jim Frost made the sequencers that were used to complete the human genome. With his background as a chemist, he officially got into winemaking in 2005, making wine primarily for AuburnJames.
HARVEST & CELLAR NOTES This traditional Bordeaux blend is a mix of varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot), sourced from several parcels around the Napa Valley, all of them primo sites, including Bella Vista Vineyard, which has produced gold-medal-earning wines. Each varietal is vinified separately and aged in oak for 28 months before the final blend is determined. Once made, it all goes into stainless steel for six months to fully integrate the flavors without adding too much oak influence. The growing seasons was hot and dry, says Frost, but there were “no real worries, no rain, no fires, all was good.”
TASTING NOTES This wine punches way above its weight. And with its medium tannins, you’ll be cracking open bottle No. 2 in a blink if you’re not careful. All of that is because Frost is a master of balancing acid and fruit. He says he was aiming for a Left Bank-style Bordeaux Blend and achieved that by adding Cabernet from two distinct sites. “Because of the heat in Calistoga the Cabernet Sauvignon can get very ripe with big dark berry components and reduced acidity,” he says. “The Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon has better acidity and brighter fruit. The other components add complexity and color.” All of which add up to an especially elegant wine. Cinnamon and spice prevail on the nose, with cassis, chocolate and a hint of wild fennel on the palate. Even with those medium-body tannins, this wine could spend 20 years in the cellar.