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Ehlers Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon “1886”St. Helena, Napa Valley, California 2012 (750mL)  |  FREE Shipping on any 6 bottles!

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Ehlers Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon “1886” St. Helena, Napa Valley, California 2012 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
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Alcohol
It’s always good to see an old friend again. For years, Ehlers Estate has been amongst my favorite producers in Napa, consistently making gorgeous, classically composed wines vintage after vintage. During my hectic years on the floor, I could always rely on them to provide spot-on, impressively textured Cabernet (as well as a delicious Sauvignon Blanc) to feature on my lists. So when Ehlers came to us with this limited offering of the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon “1886” direct from the winery, we jumped at the opportunity.

Combining power and elegance, I think of their Cabernet as the vinous love child of Margaux and Oakville, with silky finesse supported by full-bodied heft. This wine performs at the level of many cult-status Napa Cabs for a fraction of the cost and, quite frankly, I’d rather drink this one!

Ehlers Estate is ancient by California standards. In the late 1800s, Bernard Ehlers bought a 10-acre parcel of land in St. Helena, planting an olive grove and replanting the struggling vineyards. By 1886, he finished construction of the stone barn that still serves as the estate’s tasting room. Today’s eponymous wine, the estate’s signature bottling, serves as a tribute to that date. The winery has been in continuous operation since the 19th century, even through prohibition when it was designated a “home winery.” After a series of ownership changes, the small parcel of land was acquired by the Leducq family in 2001 and added to their nearby vineyard sites to create a contiguous 42-acre estate. 
 
Though many of the Bordeaux varieties are planted across the estate, Cabernet is still king here, comprising 25 acres of the total vineyard planting. Many of the vines supplying fruit for the ‘1886’ blend are from blocks planted on bench land - the rocky soils washed down from the Mayacamas Mountains—and comprise six different clones planted to multiple rootstocks. All the vineyards on the estate have been farmed biodynamically for over a decade and the estate has been certified organic since 2008. With no point of the property farther than 600 yards from the winery, the full-time vineyard team can have complete control over every element of viticulture and their attention to detail shows. 

After a practically ideal growing season with extended hang time, the 2012 vintage was harvested in mid-October. The blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot was fermented using natural yeasts and aged in 100% French oak barrels, 70% new, before being bottled in the summer of 2014, giving this wine six years in the bottle. In the glass, the wine still shows dark crimson with purple highlights at its core with a touch of brick coloring at the edge, to be expected for an eight-year-old wine. Swirling layers of aromas pour out of the glass, red plum, sage, violets, cacao nib, caramel, and cassis. On the palate, the wine is pure elegant power, with silky blackberry preserves, espresso, and a touch of Madagascar vanilla at the finish, with tannins that are big, but not drying. While entering its next phase of development and drinking in a prime condition, this wine easily has 15-20 years of aging potential remaining. I recommend at least an hour in the decanter to help coax all of the flavors out and serving at 60 degrees in big Bordeaux stems, ideally paired alongside a well-marbled ribeye from the grill. Enjoy!



Ehlers Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon “1886” St. Helena, Napa Valley, California 2012 - SommSelect

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  • CountryUSA
  • RegionNapa Valley
  • Sub-RegionSt Helena
  • SoilLoam
  • FarmingCertified Organic, Practicing Biodynamic
  • Blend95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • Oak70% New French
  • Service Temp.60° F
  • GlasswareLarge Bordeaux Stem
  • DrinkNow-2032+
  • Decanting60+ Minutes
  • PairingGrilled Bone-In Ribeye

  • CountryUSA
  • RegionNapa Valley
  • Sub-RegionSt Helena
  • SoilLoam
  • FarmingCertified Organic, Practicing Biodynamic
  • Blend95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • Oak70% New French
  • Production~ 800 cases
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareLarge Bordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2032+
  • Decanting60+ Minutes
  • PairingGrilled Bone-In Ribeye

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