Most importantly, the Coombsville sub-appellation of the Napa Valley (the most recently approved of 16 sub-appellations within the Valley) is about as cool a climate in which one can grow Cabernet Sauvignon to full ripeness, thus providing a consistently long growing season and ensuring full flavor and structural development.
Regarding our soils, we learned during the process of installing enhanced drainage that they are significantly rocky and quite diverse, each helping to enhance the quality and complexity of the wines.
We planted at the relatively high density of six-foot rows with four feet between the vines, providing competition among the vines and ensuring low yield per vine with small bunches and berries, resulting in wines with high levels of concentration and character.
And now, for the wine geeks among you, all of our vines are planted on 101-14 rootstock, grafted to one of three clones of Cabernet Sauvignon: 337, 341 and 4. 337 and 341 are leading edge clones from the ENTAV organization in Southwest France and clone 4 has been a Napa Valley standout for decades. We also planted a few rows of Cabernet Franc which is clone 312, usually contributing about 10% of the total Inherit The Sheep blend. All told, the Inherit The Sheep vineyard is a whopping 1.8 acres!
Once harvested, by hand of course, the fruit is also hand-sorted and then de-stemmed and crushed in the gentlest equipment available. The fruit then receives a cold-soak of three to five days, followed by fermentation with pump-overs two to three times per day. Total time on the skins is approximately 20 days. The wine is then pressed in a state-of-the-art basket press, allowing for continued gentle handling and optimal management of tannin expression.
The wine is aged in French Oak barrels for approximately 20 months. Our preferred cooper is Seguin-Moreau and the percentage of new oak ranges from approximately 75% to 100%, depending on the vintage.
Finally, Inherit The Sheep is always bottled without filtration — we want all of the natural flavor, character and texture to make it into the bottle.