This is a pre-arrival! ETA: June 15th
Named for a legendary parcel of Cabernet vines adjacent to the Yountville Pioneer Cemetery (local old-timers told owner Andy Hoxsey that the ghost of Yountville's founder, George Yount, had oft been seen walking up the hillside vineyard here), it's been lovingly tended by the same farming family's hands for over a century.
And at the height of the "Cult Cab" era? Fruit sourced from this vineyard and other estate-owned parcels served as the cornerstone for a veritable Who's Who list of Napa's most legendary Cabs. So when Ghost Block decided to stop selling their fruit to some of the aforementioned wineries, and make their own wine? And decided, as an unpretentious 100-year-old farming family, to sell their wines for mere double-digit (imagine the audacity!) prices? Seismographs practically went off all over the Napa Valley floor!
It makes sense that their fruit was so coveted by the Napa legends: all of their vineyard sites are small, family estate-owned, gorgeously sited plots that've been organically farmed since before it was cool to do so (1986). Now that they're making their own wine, though, it's all been taken up a notch! Ghost Block winemaking is presided over by one of Napa's greatest female winemakers, the Berkeley-born Kristi Koford (ex- of Mondavi), and production's extremely limited, based on an exacting selection of the year's very best fruit.
The fruit for the 2019 Ghost Block Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced entirely from one of their estate-owned single vineyards: the organically farmed, old-vine Rock Cairn Vineyard in Oakville. Named after the Native American rock cairns that still dot the hillsides there, this prized spot is part of a protected area of Oakville known as the Yountville Mounts - an area that a) keeps the air naturally cooler even on hot days, and b),permits no future development, leaving this site and its remarkable quality at freakishly limited production levels. Vineyard roots here dive deep into gravelly loam soils, and the vines are known for producing intensely flavorful fruit.
The 2018 vintage garnered 95-point scores; the new release is not yet rated by the wine mags, but it promises to be every bit as good... or maybe better! (Crowdsourced ratings like Cellartracker and Vivino currently rate this as highly as any vintage this decade.)
This is Oakville Cabernet in its most Platonic form: deep purple in hue, aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant pastilles and plum hit along with a sense of dusty earth and baking spices. On the palate, layer upon layer of fruit (black cherry, blueberry, cocoa) are interlaced with notes of tobacco leaf and dark earth. Fine-grained tannins offer structure to a wine that's as open for business now (recommended: 2-hr decant!) as it is to lay down in your cellar for 10-15 years.