Named “Affordable Napa Valley” by Food and Wine
Winery: Begun in 1978, Dave Dickson’s home-winery beat all the major commercial brands to win Best of Show at the 1983 Napa County Fair. A few decades later his eldest son, the winery was renamed after his two sons Andrew and Lane, and with Drew as winemaker, became a licensed, commercial winery, drawing attention with features in the Wall Street Journal, Napa Valley Wine Library Association, Food & Wine, Culinary Trends and Gourmet Magazine. Typical of Napa wineries in the 1970s, they made wines now considered unusual, including Napa Gamay, French Colombard, Carignan and Petaserra. Their first commercially available Cabernet Sauvignon was released in 2004.
Vineyards: Under Drew’s operation and winemaking, the winery began partnering with long-time friends who are growers in Napa Valley. Today they source Cabernet, Merlot and Old Italian-American varietals from Rutherford, St. Helena, East Oakville and Howell Mountain. All grapes are family farmed with bare-hands by those living on the vineyard personally. The grapes are picked in multiple passes whenever possible to achieve variation in acid and greater flavor range.
Winemaking: Second generation winemaker Andrew Dickson learned everything from his father. Early, commercial production focused on Napa Gamay Nouveau and Cru Gamay wines using varying degrees of carbonic maceration and whole cluster fermentation. The success of these wines and an old Italian field blend soon attracted top growers and in 2004 the winery began working fruit from Rutherford, Saint Helena and Howell Mountain. Today the focus is Bordeaux varietals from Napa Valley and surrounding areas which offer more affordability. Farming techniques and vineyard analysis learned in Napa is now performed on a very high level all over Northern California, resulting in superb quality wines from exciting new locations – which is especially fortunate given the present day radical upward shift in Napa Valley fruit pricing.
Merlot 2012, Napa Valley, Nearly Out
The Merlot is primarily from Manny Gomes’ “Los Amigos” vineyard on the eastern slope of Atlas Peak then delicately finished with a splash of Petite Sirah. Winemaker Notes: “The wine boasts bright fruit aromas of crushed blueberries, raspberries and Brazilian nut. On the palate, a core of rich minerality drives wild fruit notes of black cherry, ripe plum and cured meat, finishing soft, round and balanced, although age-worthy.” 224 Cases.
Andrew Lane “Barrel-Select” Red Blend 2012, Napa Valley New Price!
Winemaker Notes: “Rich black currant and cassis flavors, dried cherry and chocolate finish soft and long. A touch of violet character adds distinction with some tawny beginning to develop.” The very best barrels from 2012 were blended and aged 4 years in 37% New American Oak, 20% 2nd fill French & Minnesota Oak. The blend is composed of the following varietals from each specified location: Merlot 72% (Eastern Slope of Atlas Peak), Cabernet 10%(Rutherford Chaix Estate), Petite Verdot 12% (Howell Mountain) and Field Blend 6% (St. Helena). 400 cases made.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Lake County New Wine
Winemaker Notes: “Enticing aromas of black berries and currants with a hint of anise and toasty elements to entertain the senses. Smooth and supple tannins coat the entire palette to elevate the enjoyment of this wine. Deep red color, smooth and lush wine that is both rich and balanced.” Grown on volcanic soil and made with roughly 50% new oak. 400 cases.
Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley NEARLY OUT!
From the Chaix Ranch, located in the west Rutherford Bench next to Swanson and across Highway 29 from St. Supery, it expresses classic “Rutherford Dust” terroir within this sub-appellation of Napa Valley.
Winemaker Notes: “The Rutherford 2012 exhibits flavors of plum, dark cherry and pomegranate which carry over onto the palate and integrate with ripe, mixed berries. The wine has a smooth, supple entry with fine-grained tannins, solid mid-pallet and lingering berry-cherry finish.” The wine includes 15% Merlot and was aged without any new oak, in 100% One-Year-Old French oak for 30 months. 396 cases.
Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley 94 Points, R. Whitley
94 Points, Robert Whitley, 2014 San Diego International Wine Competition: “Shows a striking minerality that is both unique and attractive. Dense and powerful, firmly structured, and rich, with dark-fruited aromas that linger with persistence through the finish.”
Winemaker’s Notes: “The 2010 vintage from Chaix Ranch expresses the terroir of Rutherford appellation with lush, brambly blackberry, cassis and ripe black cherry, cocoa, loamy earth and cedar. Well-integrated oak spick from 30 months in 50% new French oak give the wine both approachability and age-ability.” 6% Franc, 9% Merlot. 466 cases.