BILL NANCARROW, WINEMAKER
Our winemaking team goes to great lengths to make C. Elizabeth in the nuanced, complex, and memorable image of its namesake. We cut no corners, take no short cuts in our quest to deliver the best possible single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon we can make.
Never one to adhere to convention, C. Elizabeth is barrel aged in select American oak.
In order to achieve a specific, richer palate expression, we have created a rigorous barrel program – one which allows us to handpick and remove various barrels during the blending process. While this may seem extreme for a micro lot single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon program, we believe it is essential in achieving our goal.
Through our trials with the barrel program for C. Elizabeth, we have zeroed in on few select cooperages, with Pennsylvania and Missouri oak rising to the top. We age all of our barrels for a minimum of 3-4 years giving them a more subtle profile allowing us to achieve the proper balance of tannins and accents in the finished wine. Additionally, for our Pennsylvania barrels, the cooperage goes the extra mile to meet our exacting standards – creating specific, small pore American oak barrels with water bent staves that enhance and help deliver the C. Elizabeth Cabernet Sauvignon flavor profile we love.
C. Elizabeth is crafted with 100% Napa Valley, Oakville Game Farm Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon fruit.
Once fermentation is complete, we age the wine in a combination of new and neutral American Oak barrels for approximately twenty-one months. Throughout the barrel aging process, we regularly taste from the individual barrels and begin our blending process. We have some barrels where the wine continues to age uninterrupted, saving these barrels for the end of the blending process. Other barrel lots are blended and aged together at various stages of the process. This approach provides us with various expressions of the vintage from which we can select to achieve the optimal blend.
Once the blend is finalized, we bottle the wine and head to the final stage of the winemaking process prior to release: additional aging in bottle for a minimum of 12 months. C. Elizabeth can be enjoyed immediately upon release and will continue to reward with cellaring for decades after.
Each vintage of C. Elizabeth Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the singular balance and beauty that is Game Farm Vineyard: From this precious place we produce a wine with great flavor intensity and depth that is further enhanced by the unique aspects of each growing season. Add to the mix our meticulous American oak barrel regimen and blending approach for a truly distinctive expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at its finest.