Vineyard: Cimarossa means “red hill top” in Italian, and the red volcanic soils of this Howell Mountain site attest to the appropriateness of the name. Situated at 2100 feet, the rolling, many-sloped vineyard features rocky, non-fertile soils, suitable only for grapevines and the few olive trees that grow along its outskirts. Farmed by longtime grower Dino Dina, the vineyard produces classic mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. This harvest marks the 6th vintage of this wine for Sbragia Family Vineyards.
Vintage: The 2009 vintage gave Napa Valley winemakers lush, beautiful grapes for great wine. Late spring rains delayed irrigation and a warm spell in June helped curtail excessive canopy development. The growing season counted only four or five days of intense heat instead of the nearly 14 days we get in a typical growing season, helping to reduce demand for water when the resource was relatively scarce. Though rainfall was little more than two-thirds the norm for the third year in a row, the timing of the precipitation was on the vine's side. With little to no frost and a mild, relatively cool growing season, the forces of nature worked in unison in 2009 to give vines and grapes the best scenario possible.
Winemaking: As one of the highest elevation vineyards in Napa Valley Cimarossa is also one of the latest-ripening, testing our patience each vintage as we wait for the right moment to harvest. 2009 was no different, but the long growing season rewarded us with small, beautifully ripe and intensely concentrated Cabernet grapes. We crushed and fermented the fruit and placed the young wine in new thin-staved Chateau barrels from the Nevers forest in France where it aged for two years prior to bottling.
Winemaker Comments: “I’m a big fan of Howell Mountain fruit; party because I find the appellation’s diverse terrain yields such individualistic wines, worthy of vineyard-designation. The 2009 Cimarossa is both structured, with a mineral backbone, and generous, brimming with dark fruits and exotic spices that stay pure and racy on the palate. Solid and stylish, the wine’s ripe, silky tannins are wrapped in sweet French oak, giving the wine a long, lovely finish.”
94 points: "An implosive deep wine, the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Cimarossa Vineyard boasts considerable energy, but here there is more than enough fruit to nearly cover the Howell Mountain tannins. Sweet red berries, freshly cut flowers, mocha, chocolate and sweet spices all come to life in a wine that is surprisingly polished, suave and complete." -Robert Parker Jr., December 2012
Harvest: October 9, 2009
Blend: 95.1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.9% Cabernet Franc