1994 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

1994 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

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98 Points Wine Advocate
94 Points Wine Spectator, 1997
93 Points Wine Spectator, 2004

About Bryant Family Vineyard

Producer Facts

Winery Name

Bryant Family Vineyard

Web Site

http://www.bryantwines.com/

Ownership/Management

Don and Bettina Bryant

Area Under Vine: 13 Acres

Wines Made: Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Bettina Bryant Proprietary Red Wine, Bryant Family Vineyard DB4

Terroir: The vineyard is on a volcanic ridge line that ends where they are located, and resurfaces on the other side of the lake and then runs all the way to Mount Saint Helena. The base soils are Sobrante loam series, but vary widely, with the changes in the vineyard identified mostly by the degree of slope and relative position on the ridge. The magma that forms the ridge cooled at various rates, with the surface cooling quicker and forming more friable rocks with gas trapped inside. The deeper magma cooled slower and is harder and more basalt, andesitic and rhyolitic in nature. These variations result in differences in the vineyard, with the north side composed of larger rocks, the opposite side composed of finer, deeper soils, though still well drained. Those on the rockier soils have very little root zone and get irrigated, others are dry farmed.

Napa Valley 1994

The 1994 vintage was the type of year California winemakers would take every time if they could — a long, mild growing season nearly free of extremes of temperature or rainfall. The good conditions resulted in beautiful, ripe, and powerful wines with superb concentration, depth, richness, and balance. Twenty years on, the best are still in their prime.

One of the only minor concerns was during a period of hot weather in early August that caused some uneven clusters at veraison, but the problem was solved by careful crop-thinning to remove them. As harvest approached, beautiful Indian summer conditions settled in, prolonging hang-times and allowing the grapes to achieve fantastic levels of physiological ripeness. A tremendous year of classic, powerful yet balanced wines that have stood the test of time.

Key Dates

March
Bud break off to a late start, but days were sunny and dry

May
Snowstorm hit North Coast late in the month, and hail in Napa Valley; no damage, because flowering had not occurred yet

September
Heavy rains (Carneros and Central Coast)

August
A two-week period of hot weather at the beginning of August created some uneven coloration during veraison, and growers compensated by thinning fruit to allow only the best grapes to reach maturation

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