1999 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

1999 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

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95 Points Wine Advocate

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 1999

Napa’s 1999 was a slow-paced, cool growing season with very few heat spikes, which allowed a long hang-time for flavors, sugars, and tannins to come into perfectly balanced ripeness. If growers picked too early, instead of waiting it out in the long, dry Indian summer condition for the grapes to slowly come to maturity, or failed to crop thin and balance fruit loads for the cooler conditions, the vines struggled to get to perfect physiological ripeness, leaving a little flavor on the table and imparting a hard edge to the tannins. The best wines — and there are many outstanding wines in this cool, compact yet powerful vintage — are structured, concentrated, and focused, with the tannins and depth to age for the long haul.

The spring was cool and lingering, followed by a mild summer with a significant hot spell in early July. The weather warmed up again in late September as the harvest was underway. There was very little rainfall from April through October, resulting in concentrated, small berries. The long, cool season kept acids bright and fresh, and there is something to the argument that this was a more “European” styled vintage in the best sense of the term.

Solid, compact, structured wines, with somewhat Bordeaux-like interplay between power, structure, fruit, acidity, and elegance — the best of which should age well for a decade or two at least.

 

Key Dates

May
Scattered showers and hail over Memorial Day Weekend (North Coast)

June
Heavy winds and coldest recorded temperatures to date

July
Lowest accumulated temperature for in a quarter century

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