The 2005 vintage brought excellent quality for which Atlas Peak is known for. The long, cool growing season helped flavors develop beautifully and the large crop allowed us to have even more room to select only the best lots for our final blends. Fruit sorting and skilled winemaking decisions were especially important components of this challenging year. Though the harvest came very late, it was nearly perfect, thanks to spectacular fall weather. Many of our vineyards weren't picked until November, which is unusual, but they were picked in a much shorter period than in 2004. The extended hang time allowed for greater flavor development, and in the end that's the most important factor.
Howell Mountain. Spring Mountain. Mount Veeder. The cornerstone mountain vineyard sources behind the Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon wines. These high-elevation appellations frame the Napa Valley and provide ideal growing conditions for bold, complex, and intense wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon was fermented in small lots to capture the essence of the vineyard sites where the grapes are grown. Throughout the growing season, both the winemaker and vineyard manager walked each vineyard to determine when the grapes have reached the peak of maturity. The grapes were then harvested by hand into half ton picking bins and delivered to the winery. After de-stemming, berries were hand sorted to ensure that only the best fruit went into the tank. The grapes were cold soaked for up to two days before the start of fermentation (which lasted five to seven days at temperatures between 85 and 90 degrees F). This was followed by an extended maceration of up to 30 days to achieve the desired extraction of flavors. The wine was then drained from the tank and put into 100% French oak barrels (50% new) for 15 months of aging.