Named for the study of the physical characteristics of rocks, this wine turns a lens on the distinctive vineyards located in Saint Helena, Rutherford, Oakville and on Pritchard Hill. Lithology Napa Valley is a blend of these top vineyards representing the Napa AVA overall. A truly rich, dark, and decadent expression is seen here, showcasing the hedonistic side of Napa Valley with its varying strata and perfect growing conditions. The wine is powerful up front, coiled in blackberry, sage, and pure mint. It waits until the second sip to reveal the grippy tannins, but by then it is too late, you are already wanting more.
When he decided to establish a family domaine in his own name in the Napa Valley, international wine entrepreneur Alejandro Bulgheroni did everything right. The details are simply dizzying. First, he bought a vineyard and winery just south of Meadowood Resort in St. Helena, where Bill Harlan and his team made some of their wines before he moved into new facilities on the west side of Oakville. He hired Jim Barbour, a Rutherford native and veteran of over 40 Napa Valley harvests to manage this Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate Vineyard. Barbour has also been responsible for tending the vines of such luminaries as Hundred Acre, Checkerboard, Gandona, Blankiet, and Grace Family.There would be no question that Bulgheroni would also purchase fruit from Andy Beckstoffer’s jewel box vineyards, such as To Kalon in Oakville, and Las Piedras and Dr. Crane in St. Helena. The winemaking team had to be the best in the world. Bulgheroni hired superstar winemaker Philippe Melka [Dominus, Pétrus] and his onetime mentor Michel Rolland to oversee oenology. Day to day winemaking is handled by Matt Sands, an alum of harvests at Screaming Eagle and Bryant Family. Critical acclaim inevitably followed. In December of last year, Robert Parker scored every 2015 and 2016 Bulgheroni wine above 95, with the 2016 Lithology Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon scoring a potential 100 points.
A blend of declassified lots from around Napa Valley, composed of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc aged for 22 months in 59% new French oak, the 2016 Lithology Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is deep garnet-purple in color and opens with fragrant cassis, ripe plums and black cherries notes with touches of lilacs, dark chocolate and underbrush. Full-bodied, rich and with fantastic concentration, it has a seductive, velvety texture and a long berry and mineral-laced finish. 400 cases produced.
Bulgheroni's 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology (Napa Valley) is a dark, brooding beauty. Espresso, mocha, black cherry, plum, chocolate and spice run through the 2016. The addition of 9% Cabernet Franc from Oakville Ranch adds aromatic intensity and nuance to this big, richly textured Napa Valley Cabernet. The boldly savory style is quite a departure from the more overtly fruit-driven style of the 2015. Fruit sources are the Estate, Oakville Ranch, Georges III and the vineyard designates that are also bottled separately.