BOND offers a vivid demonstration of the range of Napa Valley’s finest terroirs. This portfolio is the essence of discernment, with years of study and experimentation distilled into only those properties that Bill Harlan’s team considered Napa’s own ‘Grand Crus’. Small vineyards, ranging from a mere 7 to 11 acres, become the basis for this study in perfection – a coveted three-bottle collection of Napa’s crown jewels safely ensconced in OWC. The fires of 2017 led to an even smaller production than usual, so this special collection will be a true cellar-investment for those very few lucky enough to lay hands on it!
Bill Harlan’s standards have become legendary in Napa Valley. The vintner and businessman responsible for Harlan Estate, Meadowood Resort and the ambitious winemaking-with-the-stars club that is the Napa Valley Reserve doesn’t cut corners anywhere. Back in 1993 (first releases in ’97), utilizing the same group responsible for Harlan, Bill signed vineyard contracts on four superlative hillside properties to be farmed to the team’s specifications. While four single-vineyard Cabernets are bottled separately, blending decisions dictate that not every barrel from each property will be used… which is where Matriarch comes into play. It allows the immensely talented winemaker Bob Levy to use his blending expertise to highlight the best qualities of the vintage, rather than a specific vineyard expression. The fruit sources stretch from the eastern extremes of Rutherford’s border, west and south to the Mayacamas foothills of Oakville and due north to Spring Mountain. The common themes are hillside plantings, low yields and meticulous farming. It’s exactly what you’d expect from this group of dedicated perfectionists who continue to outdo themselves.
Vecina vineyard is located in the western foothills of Oakville, just to the southeast of the winery (up on Oakville Grade). Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Vecina needs a little coaxing to reveal notes of black currants, blackberries and blueberry compote with hints of dusty soil, cinnamon stick and fallen leaves. Slightly more structured than the other Bond 2017s, it has a rock-solid backbone of firm, grainy tannins and bold freshness supporting the muscular black and blue fruit flavors, finishing long and earthy. It will likely need a little longer to come around than its siblings, but it should also be longer lived.
The 2017 Quella comes from a steep, southwest-facing vineyard in the eastern Vaca hillsides, just up from Joseph Phelps's winery and Denali Estate. Deep garnet-purple colored, it explodes with bombastic scents of stewed plums, boysenberries, crème de cassis and kirsch plus hints of black truffles, tar and damp soil. The palate is full-bodied and velvety, jam-packed with blackberry and plum preserves flavors with lots of savory nuances on the long finish.
St. Eden comes from a red, rocky, iron-rich vineyard site located just north of the Oakville Crossroad in the Vaca Mountains. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 St. Eden is a little broody, opening out with much coaxing to notes of crushed black cherries, cassis and tilled soil with hints of red currants, fruitcake and dusty soil. The opulent, full-bodied, soft-textured palate delivers bags of spicy black fruit preserves flavors, backed-up by loads of freshness, finishing long and exotic.