The making of Crucible is our pride and joy, truly a labor of love. This is the Student Vineyard of Napa Valley College, where Clark taught Advanced Winemaking for many years. In 2003, Dean of Viticulture Stephen Krebs tore out most of the Chardonnay vines from which Faux Chablis was made and planted two German cold weather clones of Cabernet Sauvignon. Clones 337 and 15 possess unusual characteristics uniquely suited to this cool emerging appellation. When grown in warmer parts of the Napa Valley, an early ripening habit hampers full structural expression; however in the long ripening period created by close proximity to San Pablo Bay, they express massive structure, profound color and intense dark fruit aromatics.
Picked at the peak of phenolic ripeness, these small berries yield tiny volumes of intensely tannic juice packed with black fruit aromas. We applied the élevage teachings of our guru Patrick Ducournau to achieve aromatic integration on a scale seldom seen, resulting in a hollow soulfulness which captivates the spirit.
The enormous dimensions of this pure Cabernet Sauvignon enabled 60 months in very old French oak to develop its complex flavors, which should gain depth for several decades.
Though the resulting wine possesses almost impossible density, its real allure is its regally understated aromatics which drag you into the glass, together with the refinement with which it carries its massive tannins. Its soulful “come hither” derives from the weight and finesse of its tannins, which serve to integrate its aromatics into a resonant “single voice.”