Wine Notes
2011   2010   2009    2008    2007   2006   2005   2004   2003   2002
 
Planted in 1999 to red Bordeaux varieties, our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in eastern Napa Valley ranges in elevation from 1,800 to 2,200 feet. The vineyard is named for the omnivorous black bears that enjoy feasting on our mountain grapes as they approach ripeness. Fortunately, our ursine friends leave behind enough fruit for us to craft this classic Napa Valley mountain red.

Dancing Bear incorporates two distinctive clonal selections of cabernet sauvignon: Clone 4 and Clone 7. These clones, and the terroir of our Howell Mountain estate vineyard, produce cabernet sauvignon grapes with deep color, bright acidity and more tannin than our valley-grown fruit. As a result, we strive to capture Dancing Bear’s intense fruit character without extracting overly aggressive tannins. During fermentation and maceration, we carefully monitor the ‘cap’ of skins at the top of the fermenting tank. When the wine has achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wine is drained from the skins and transferred to French oak barrels, at least one-third new, for 20-22 months’ aging.

Reflecting its mountain terroir, Dancing Bear Cabernet Sauvignon displays fresh, high-toned floral aromas mingled with ripe, spicy, brambleberry fruit tones. In the mouth, the wine is intense and concentrated, with a core of beautifully pure wild cherry fruit, yet its texture is supple and elegant. Firmly structured and amazingly focused, it culminates in a long, savory finish full of rich dark chocolate and mineral tones. While Dancing Bear is tantalizingly delicious its youth, it evolves beautifully in bottle for 8-10 years.