The 2013 vintage had one of the most ideal growing conditions allowing the fruit to have a long hang time without over ripeness. The tannins are well integrated allowing for a soft entry on the palate as well as a nice long finish. The Cabernet was fermented in French Oak (50% new) for two years. The Vincent Arroyo vineyard located in Calistoga has been dry farmed for over 40+ years. Lower yields and more intense flavors are the bi-product of farming this way. This wine can be enjoyed now or can sit in your cellar another 7-10 years.
2014 Bridge 1904 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
The 2014 vintage of Bridge 1904 Cabernet is full of rich blackberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate and chewy tannins yielding a medium bodied well balanced wine. The fruit sourced for this wine is from our estate vineyards in the Northern Napa Valley where we have warm temperatures during the days and cool nights, making a great location to grow Cabernet. This wine fermented in French Oak (50% new) for two years. It can be enjoyed now or can sit in your cellar another 7-10 years.
Walking into the Vincent Arroyo Winery, one gets the sense that it has been here forever. Is it just the comfortable atmosphere of a big barn full of oak wine barrels that lends to the sense of permanence? Vincent Arroyo, himself, may feel like he has been here forever, as well. He left behind a career as a mechanical engineer in the Silicon Valley during the early 70’s and headed to Calistoga, at the northern tip of the Napa Valley. He felt much more at home close to the land, being able to see and taste the fruits of his labors.
The purchase of the 23 acres of the Greenwood Ranch property in 1974 began the evolution of what is seen today, 85 acres cultivating 9 different wine grape varietals. Vince has always been a farmer at heart, taking care of the land to produce the best that it can. He began to transform the Greenwood Ranch by ripping out existing prune trees and unhealthy vines and planting new vineyards. For many years, he did it all alone, the tractor work, cellar work and a one-man sales force. Originally he made just a few hundred cases of his favorites, Petite Sirah and Cabernet, selling the majority of the grape tonnage to other Napa wineries. Today, he produces over 8,000 cases of seven different varietals.
Vincent Arroyo now has help in the winery and vineyards, but the daily operations of the winery are still truly a family affair. Both Vince’s daughter, Adrian, and son- in- law, Matt, work full time at the winery. While Matt can usually be found in the cellar tending to the wines, Adrian’s primary role is overseeing the daily operations of both the winery and tasting room. However, Vince still does quite a bit of work himself. You may catch him on the tractor or down with the barrels, always , wanting to have a hand in what goes on around the winery that he grew. In fact, it is hard to keep him away from the barrels, with a wine thief in hand, when inquisitive customers stop by for a sample!
Vincent Arroyo’s winemaking style is the embodiment of his philosophy about his land. Take what you have, and do the best you can with it. Each wine at the winery is hand-crafted, starting from before the grapes are harvested. Vince decides how the grapes from each vineyard will be vinified, when they will be picked, how they will be crushed, what fermentation regimes they will undergo (pumpovers, extended macerations, pressings), and finally, what percentage of French or American barrels, new or old barrels to maximize the optimum flavors of the wine during the barrel-aging process.
The wines produced at the Vincent Arroyo Winery have put a star on many Napa Valley maps as a place that shouldn’t be missed. His signature wine, still Petite Sirah, has become so popular that it often sells out before it is bottled every year. Once you have tasted the wines, you’ll know why. The winery also makes a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and several red blends.
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FedEx Ground: Friday, July 27th - Tuesday, July 31st
I have garnered from past conversations that Cab is maybe best left in the cellar for around 10 years, but… is this a good wine for near future consumption? I don’t have a dependable space (or willpower) to hang on to anything for more than a couple years.
@CruelMelody Depends on how the cab was made. A lot of wines today aren’t meant to sit around in the cellar and may not improve in 10 years. The notes above on this wine say enjoy now or sit in cellar for another 7-10 years. At this price, I don’t think you can get too mad at yourself for drinking it now.
Oh, the excitement and anticipation the official Lab Rat email brings… like Christmas Eve offsetting the sweltering Midwest heat wave.
Since I am from the Chinese Year of the Rat and Ben (1972) is the ultimate rat movie, being a Lab Rat must be my destiny trifecta.
The 2014 Bridge 1904 Cab Sav was carefully held for us at our local Fed Ex drop spot, and I couldn’t help but notice that the nearly 110 degree heat index was exactly the difference between 2014 and 1904- yet another hand of the Fates doing their best to prepare us for the coming days.
Knowing we were lucky enough to have a full weekend for the scientific lab report, we gave the bottle 24 hours travel rest before pulling the cork.
After a one hour breather, the pouring revealed a dark plum color that my wife more accurately noted as aubergine- which is a much better term for wine, not to say it’s a winier (or is that whinier?) description, but it does make me feel more knowledgeable.
We planned on having the tasting outdoors, but the oppressive heat and humidity had other ideas. The wine glasses (and camera lens) were fogging up from their short trip outdoors within minutes, which was enough to tell us the wine probably would be as uncomfortable as were becoming at the Dantesque ambient temps. Indoors we went, where both the wine and the tasters were much more at ease.
A swirl of the much happier glass showed no sign of sediment and displayed lasting, even legs. The nose was predominantly cherry with some jam and oak notes, with alcohol showing as well. My wife detected a hint of fresh hay in the background.
First taste showed strong tannins, with a bit of heat. My wife noted “quite fruity/very cherry”; I agreed and felt the nose carried through strongly in the flavors- especially toward a bit of tart cherry/stone fruit. First trial pairing was a local thin crust Chicago chicken and barbecue pizza, which worked exceptionally well with the smoky fruit of the Bridge 1904.
With the first tasting notes complete, we went off script thinking we had a great opportunity for a single-blind comparison with some wines the CaseMates folks likely know well and representing some other California appellations and vintages . At random, we pulled a 2012 Wellington Karren and a 2015 Pedroncelli Block 007. Not surprisingly, the three had some varied interpretations on a common theme.
The Bridge and Ped has similar tannin and fruit presence, the Wellington more complexity of flavor and less tannic. We felt the Bridge was very competitive in this grouping and could excel dependent on the pairing. After drinking about half of the three bottles, we determined that we should leave some for the next day.
Day 2 revealed a difference in two methods of storage. The bottle was capped and kept in the cool basement; my wife had put her half glass in the fridge at 38 degrees. Bringing them both up to temperature, the glass in the fridge was still showing the heavy tannins, while the wine from the bottle had noticeably improved from additional breathing time. It had softened quite a bit- with less alcohol on the nose, and a bit of licorice/anise in addition to the fruit. Tannins were less prominent, with the lingering tart cherry/berry/stone fruit on the palate and a slight edge of oak.
Pairing on day two was with some moderately spiced turkey burgers and apple-pecan cole slaw. This also was a nice match and let the wine stand out a bit more without the powerful barbecue sauce competing for front stage.
Overall, we found this to be a very pleasant Cabernet Sauvignon that likely would continue to improve and gain complexity over the next several years. At this price (which was unexpectedly below our guess), we agreed this would be a good wine to pick up for typical summer fare accompaniment or as a nice warming type Cab Sav in the cooler months.
We truly appreciate the opportunity to have been Rats for this offering, and we had a lot of fun with the tasting (even with the pressure of responsibility).
Question: if I order this with the expedited shipping (to the Chicago area) is there any idea of when it will ship? I am interested in ordering, but I will be traveling until the second half of next week. If it gets here too fast, it may be a problem (I always have my wine shipments held for pickup at a local grocery store so the only concern is if I would not make it there within the 5-day pickup window). If the “estimated delivery” dates are accurate, I will be fine.
@Winedavid49 While I was on vacation, I received shipping notice with expected delivery today. I changed the delivery to hold at the local grocery store, and it was delivered at 11:23am. About 6 hours later I picked it up after getting home. The cold packs were a neutral temperature, but the interior of the box was at 71.8 degrees, so it seems that they did their job. Looking forward to enjoying this wine! (Also, two stickers were enclosed. )
Got the email last week and was thrilled to be selected to be a lab rat. This is my first time so please don’t be too judgmental. When the wine arrived on Thursday, I opened up the box and found a bottle of Bridge 1904 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 from the Vincent Arroyo Winery. Being a Napa cab, I had high expectations and couldn’t wait to try it. Unfortunately, I had to work 16’s for the next few days so I stored the bottle in our “wine cellar” and by wine cellar I mean converted old bathroom with a little extra insulation and a small portable AC unit for those really hot California days.
Anyhow, along came Sunday and I finally got a chance to try the wine with my husband. We each poured ourselves a glass and the first thing we noticed was how clear the wine was. We could not see any sediment at all nor was there much of a haze. Upon sniffing the wine my husband detected a tobacco and ripe fruit aroma whereas I got more of a leather and cherry aroma. We both found the tannins to be up front but mild and did not seem to linger. We would put this in the medium bodied range. The taste was definitely cherry or berries with hints of vanilla.
Overall, we both thought this was a lighter bodied approachable cab that can be drunk alone and does not need to paired with food. I called it a party wine but my husband thought better wording would be “a party wine for wine enthusiasts”. I would drink it now and don’t think aging would really add much to it. We both agreed that when Monday came if the case was under $150 it would be a steal and an auto buy. Thanks for letting me be a lab rat. If you need my services again, I would be thrilled to oblige.
If anyone is on the fence about this producer, I would share that my wife and I found the Vincent Arroyo Winery on our first trip to Napa in the last century and they are wonderful! Lots of Vincent Arroyo in our cellar.
I know it’s too late but I had trouble posting on tuesday… Vincent Arroyo is an auto buy for me, I even have tons of wine ordered that I haven’t picked up at the winery… sorry. We served Vincent’s wine at our wedding a few years ago.