Quintessa has been an organic winery ever since vines were first planted on the land in 1989, and, in 1996, it went fully biodynamic–long before it was en vogue to do so. It is not, however, some new age Napa hippy winery which happens to be on the right side of trend. If anything, Quintessa is made in the mold of Old World attention to detail and adherence to quality craft. They make a single wine each year that expresses the estate’s diversity and transforms the soil, vines, climate and energy into something greater than those individual elements. It’s a wine that recalls a moment in time, capturing the 280-acre Rutherford District estate’s evolving ethos. Their most recently released bottling, Quintessa 2018, might be their best yet.
When founders Agustin and Valeria Huneeus first set foot on the pristine, uncultivated property, they believed they had found something absolutely unique from what they had seen in Napa before. They knew that the land, spread over five hillsides, with different soil types and exposures, encompassed tremendous diversity that would lead Quintessa to become a world-class wine estate akin to the first-growths of the Old World. Today, the estate is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Carménère on 26 vineyard blocks. Since the estate’s first vintage in 1994, Quintessa has quickly become globally recognized as a benchmark of the Napa Valley.
Every year/vintage has a distinct personality, and with each release the winery works to make a deeper connection between the soils, their terroir, and their practices so that it can interpret the property holistically. The 2018 Quintessa is one of the finest and purest representations that has been seen to date. It reflects a vintage with a remarkable climate, the profound understanding of its diverse soils, and an extraordinary precision in its winemaking.
“The precision of the vintage, a result of the cooler weather, long harvest, and continued study of the property, is evident in the movement and texture of the wine,” said Winemaker Rebekah Wineburg. “Already showing the hallmarks of a great age-worthy vintage, the 2018 Quintessa is both pleasurable to drink now and will continue to age with grace as it develops more savory notes and length to the finish over the next 20 years.”
The 2018 growing season was even and balanced, beginning with bud break occurring two weeks later than the previous year. The moderate weather set the pace to create healthy canopies and a vineyard graced with mild conditions, a lack of extremes, and an abundance of high-quality fruit. Mild weather conditions persisted through harvest, producing clusters of perfect ripeness and acidity, with time for phenolics and flavors to develop without the pressure of increasing Brix. A long and almost leisurely harvest ensued.
The 2018 Quintessa is a wine of elegance, both bold and graceful, it possesses a refinement similar to prima ballerinas that allows it to be at once bright and fresh, while carrying serious depth and power. Intense aromas of cassis, black cherry, and raspberry intermingle with savory notes of sage and thyme, before diving deeper into dark chocolate, graphite, fresh tobacco, and fresh fruit. Precise and dense, the wine shows supple tannin along with flavors of black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, black tea, lavender, and a fresh minerality. It’s a wine that shows serious aging potential.
Blend: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Carmenére, 1% Petit Verdot
For more information, head over to Quintessa’s official website.