- Producer: Promontory
- Winemaker: Cory Empting
- Region (AVA): Napa (Napa Valley)
- Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Vintage production: c.2,000
- Winery location: Oakville
- First vintage: 2009
- Drinking window: 2016-2066
About The Wine:
It took imagination to see the potential of this seemingly inhospitable site! It was in 1984 that Bill Harlan fell in love with this virgin territory - which had no vineyards at the time - and he had to wait for the opportunity to acquire it. Today it is his son Will Harlan who has taken on the project and is integrating it into the future, a 200 year plan for all the family properties (they also own Harlan Estate and Bond Winery). In 2008, father and son were able to buy the first parcels - some of which had been planted in the meantime - and the last one was acquired in 2014. The rocky soils were severely eroded due to massive deforestation dictated by the pressure to produce. The conquest of the hostile canyon and its slopes was therefore progressive, undertaken in a way that had to be invented on site to rise to the challenge of preserving the original purity of the place. 11 hectares of the original vineyard have been conserved due to the interesting age of these Cabernets. Another 16 hectares are still being replanted parcel by parcel and five new hectares have been planted. A micro vineyard, therefore, for an ultra-confidential production.
The name "PROMONTORY" evokes the remarkable topography of the land: almost wild, with rugged relief; a valley hidden by forest and bordered by steep slopes, only 10% of which allow vines to grow (Cabernet Sauvignon, with a small amount of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc). This vineyard, perched at up to 340 meters, enjoys a cooler microclimate than the rest of the area, with morning mists. The soil is another particular feature: clays and shales, along with highly rich metamorphic volcanic rock, are unique to this land. This geological profile, the result of two fault lines that cross the site, has never been encountered before in Napa.
The PROMONTORY winery is located in Oakville, a few miles from the vineyard. Due to the geological diversity, winemaking is carried out through parcel management. This technique results in thirty lots, which is a fabulous base for Cory Empting, the winemaker, who can thus put together very precise blends. Malolactic fermentations take place in French oak barrels. As the Cabernet Sauvignon’s powerful tannins need to soften, the ageing of PROMONTORY lasts five years: twelve months or so in the barrels, then two years in Austrian oak casks and finally another two years in bottles.
As if this mysterious region communicated a certain restraint to the wine, the nose is at first quite reserved. After the wine has fully aged, PROMONTORY retains its elegant tight weave - with an exceptional capacity for keeping - but the tannins have melted beautifully and offer a remarkable depth. The aromatic intensity is revealed in notes of ripe red fruits and blackcurrant – the reflection of a great solar vintage, without excess - whereas a little acidity gives a vibrant energy to the wine, preserving a perfect overall balance. The subtle mineral and resinous aftertaste further underlines the great freshness of the wine, recalling the rich geology of the valley and its woods.
Promontory Proprietary Red 2013
"The best wine so far (although I suspect the 2015 may ultimately enter the picture as well) is the nearly perfect 2013 Promontory Estate. It is simply richer and fuller, with greater integration of tannin, and tastes spectacular. With an opaque, dense purple color and notes of graphite, wet rocks, blackberry and blueberry fruit, some charcoal, and again, loads of spice and loamy soil nuances, the wine has great intensity, a full-bodied texture, and finely grained, sweet tannin. This is a stunner and again, accessible, but its best days are probably a good decade away, as this could very well turn out to be a 40- to 50-year wine."
99 points, Robert Parker (Oct. 2016)