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2016 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2016 represented a watershed year for the Blueline Estate. Ten years of vineyard study (we purchased the Blueline Estate in 2006), the ideal in balanced growing conditions, and Tony Biagi’s fourth vintage with us, culminated in some of the best representations this vineyard has ever produced. As winemaker Tony Biagi quips, “2016 was a Goldilocks vintage, everything in the right proportions.” But that does not do justice to Tony’s efforts, both in the vineyard and cellar. Of course, epic vintages aid all winemakers, but extracting the very best out of a vintage is a skill for the masters even in the best of conditions.
Much of the story of the 2016 vintage is the result of an even growing season and pronounced diurnal swings (the magic of Napa). Warm days in the low 80’s and crisp nighttime temperatures dropping into the mid 50 degrees, delivered the yin/yang of temperature so critical to delivering balanced grape chemistry. These sharp diurnals help build the complex phenolics responsible for layering of flavors and improving textural mouthfeel, while holding acid in check to promote freshness and vibrancy without the excessive accumulation of sugar. In these conditions, complex tannins are allowed to mature, and color development deepens, leading to more refined structure, better aromatic integration and longer ageability. As harvest advanced from an early flowering period, what looked to be an early vintage like 2015, ended up being almost ten days later on vine. Ten days may not sound like much of a difference, but at the end of the ripening cycle, it’s the difference between a very good and epic vintage.
The Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (BLCS) has benefited more from Tony Biagi’s deft winemaking skill than any wine in our portfolio. 2016 was the year it all came together for the Blueline Cabernet. Subtle changes in farming and winemaking since Tony’s first vintage in 2012, have resulted in a wine of incredible refinement, balancing power, delicacy and a layered complexity. Aromatically, the ’16 BLCS beckons with an intoxicating bright rose petal floral scent, intermingling with a stony graphite and a waterfall of red and black fruit aromas that transcend to the first palate impression. Dimension and layering is the nature of the ’16 BLCS with a complex weave of pure fruit flavors and the stripe of graphite carrying forward from the cascade of aromas, through the long finish. One can imagine the stony cobble of the Blueline Estate as it passes across the palate.
Finely pixelated tannins yield a refined texture that is just the right balance of silky sleekness to an appropriate level of grip for a long thoughtful finish. The purity and freshness of fruit is striking, with a complex interplay of dark black berry bramble and tangy dark sour cherry notes. Fresh vibrant acid yields a tensional balance against the rich saturated fruit flavors. Deep in complex flavors, yet vibrant. The structure of this wine is serious and provides the interlocking chemical web for long term cellaring. That said, Tony’s mastery and refinement of tannin makes this wine compelling in its youth. It’s your call if you want to enjoy it now, or cellar it for 20+ years. The 2016 Blueline Estate Cabernet is the culmination of 10 years of vineyard study at Blueline and Tony’s mastery of the Estate. 2016 represents a watershed vintage for the Blueline Estate Cabernet.
~Jeff Smith, September 2018
2015 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2013 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2009 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon