2017 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Star Lane Vineyard
The first wet winter in years produced excellent early canopy growth. However late winter and early spring were warm and dry, initiating a 5th consecutive early bud break. With limited rainfall after February, vine vigor remained in check as fruit set, an excellent condition for Bordelaise varietals. Overall the season was consistent with long term historical average temperatures right up until harvest. Heat in early September pushed parts of the vineyard along but generally temperatures were even and avoided extremes. This permitted an even and consistent approach to harvest and unveiled wines with terrific depth. Even with a wet winter yields were quite low; wines quite concentrated and expressive.
2017 was an excellent growing season with moderate temperatures and healthy winter rain. However, the vintage will likely be remembered for its heat during harvest, which impacted our coastal vineyards more than Star Lane. The fruit from Star Lane did see more heat than recent vintages and early impressions suggested fruit would be forward. As a result we were careful with how tannin developed in the wine, and used a bit less new oak. Cabernet Franc (5%), Petite Verdot (5%), Merlot (4%), and Malbec (1%) all contributed in 2017, used sparingly to add pleasure through increased complexity and balance of texture.
In my time at Star Lane this may be the most fruit forward and open Cabernet Sauvignon since 2012. The wine shows the exposure to a warmer ripening season with bright red fruits a bit more forward than the usual blueberry notes of previous vintages. All of this is achieved without compromising the “Star Lane-ness,” cool coastal sage notes that add complexity. Texture is sneaky: initial softness gives way to ample (but not overwhelming) tannin on the 2nd and 3rd sip.