Courtesy of winemaker/owner, Joe Cafaro
I am passionate about making elegant, balanced wines of classic proportions. My goal is to create wines that are both graceful and worthy of aging, wines to enjoy with friends at dinner tonight or age in your cellar for years to come.
Before founding Cafaro Cellars in 1986, I made wine at Chappellet, Keenan, Acacia, Robert Sinskey, and Dalla Valle wineries. Since 1985 I have also been a consultant to several small Napa Valley wineries. Currently I am making the wines of Emilio’s Terrace.
In 1996 I cleared and planted a 15-acre vineyard in the Napa Valley. It is located just south of the Stag’s Leap Appellation in the eastern hills at 600 feet elevation. The rocky and shallow hillside soils naturally curtail the vines’ yields. The wines from these low yielding hillside vineyards are concentrated, richly colored, strong in body, firmly tannic and are also elegant and multilayered. This is a new planting area but one with great potential. The soil is from 18 to 30 inches deep and well drained (which means there are a lot of rocks). The first wines produced from our estate vineyard were in 1999. Over the next few vintages our estate vineyard will become the only source of grapes for Cafaro Cellars. The vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Syrah. With the four major varieties of Bordeaux, I now can blend many more dimensions and layers into our Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the Syrah.
I see my winemaking as traditional in form and modern in execution. I pump the fermenting juice over the cap to extract the most from the fruit and ferment in stainless steel tanks to control temperature. We also extend the fermentation an additional 14 days to soften and lengthen the tannins. Once the young wines go through malolactic fermentation and two rackings, they are placed in small French oak barrels, half of which are new, each vintage. Bottling takes place in late spring, two years after harvest. The wines are bottle-aged an additional year before release so that the wine is softer and more pleasing upon release.
Because all of the Cabernet Sauvignon fruit comes from hillside vineyards, the wines have great depth of character and intensity. The rich blackberry and cherry fruit qualities are nicely complemented by spiciness from the time the wine spends in new French oak barrels. Cafaro Merlot is bright with lively fruit and a soft, herbal quality. It is slightly lighter than the Cabernet with more pronounced fruit. It is intensely flavored and firmly structured with cherry, spice and cedar flavors. Syrah is now a part of the Cafaro Cellars wines. The Cafaro Syrah is an exciting wine from our new vineyard: bright, spicy, rich, and powerful. All of our wines are balanced and elegant; wines that complement food.
I hope you enjoy my featured wine, the 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, on www.cellarangels.com this week!