In 2020, we located a small Cabernet Sauvignon parcel just east of St Helena, at the foot of the mountains. Planted on a slope of stones with a bit of soil between the rocks, the vines were small and spindly and produced only a few clusters each. 2020 was a challenging vintage with heat and drought and this little site, just over an acre, struggled to produce about a ton and a half of grapes. 70 cases made.
We named this wine “攀登” (Pan Deng), which means climbing. Winemaking is a physically demanding job that is not as glamorous as many might think. Like mountain climbers, perseverance and resilience are the core characters of a winemaker. We want to dedicate this wine to all the hard-working men and women out there who are fearlessly pursuing their goals and dreams every day.
The tiny yields and small berries led us to believe this would be a tannic monster, but it is anything but. It seems strange these days to refer to a Napa Valley Cabernet as “pretty,” but this wine surely fits that description. Aromas of red cherries, blackberry infusion, and hints of cedar and cigar give a delightful first impression. On the palate, it is energetic and fresh, with well-balanced acidity that steers the wine in the direction of charm and elegance and away from power. A light dusting of tannin on the finish suggests that laying this wine down for a couple of years would be worthwhile.