2017 Shypoke Cabernet Sauvignon

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More often than not, California will lose to the Old World in the “how many generations of winemakers per family” contest. There are a few families, though, that go waaay back, and can lay claim to five generations of Californian winemaking. Shyypoke Vineyard was planted in Calistoga by the Heitz family in 1904, when Peter Heitz' great-grandparents immigrated from Alsace and put down roots -- literal and metaphorical -- as they built California's bonded winery #130. Family-run ever since, with Peter Heitz farming sustainably, hand-harvesting the fruit, and making tiny amounts of wine. This is classic, old-school Napa Cab, before gobs of fruit, new oak and extraction became the norm. The aromas are pristine and clean with gorgeous purity of fruit; the use of French oak is balanced, and the palate is as elegant as it is powerful. Firm tannins frame the complex flavors, and the finish is long. Decant for a bit if drinking now, and buy a couple to cellar, too - the Heitzes shouldn't be the only one thinking about their future generations!

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