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The Wine

Stone the Crows is a single vineyard, estate grown wine, produced entirely of fruit from the Three Twins Vineyard.  Densely planted in 2005 on steep hillsides, the vines are pruned to yield no more than three tons per acre.  The fruit is crushed nearby in St. Helena at Mending Wall, and aged for twenty months in French oak.

 

Stone the Crows Cabernet Sauvignon

“Stone the Crows” is an Australian expression of incredulity or surprise, having very little to do with crows themselves.  While there are certainly an abundance of crows in the vineyard, they spend most of their day perched on the fence posts or soaring lazily overhead on the breezes off the lake.  They do little harm to the fruit, and live without fear of stoning.  We felt the expression was indicative of our initial reaction to the quality of the fruit produced from the vineyard.  “Stone the Crows,” what an amazing wine!

 

Fallen Feather Cabernet Sauvignon

The inclination to start a second bottling of Stone The Crows originated with the fact that there are two very distinct Cabernet Sauvignon clones grown on the Three Twins estate.  The Fallen Feather bottling is comprised mostly of clone 337 which is inherently a very fruit-forward, lush clone that we felt would make a very approachable, round wine and highlight this strong component of the vineyard. 

2015 Stone The Crows Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Growing Season

2015 was a difficult growing season. While the quality of fruit was superb, the yields were about half of a normal harvest. However, the subtly, concentration and balance of the wine is quite remarkable and very approachable even at this time.

In 2015, a vintage defined by a smaller than average crop, both in cluster size and berry size, this wine reached a new level of concentration and complexity. Completely purple-black in the glass, this is a wine defined by mystery and power. Aromatic notes of smoked cedar, blackberry compote and pine bough swell from this glass. The palate suggests blueberry reduction, cinnamon stick, lavender and blossoming jasmine. The tannin profile is medium-grained and present from the front to the back of the palate tightly framing the rich fruit and spice notes. With 3-5 years in the cellar this bold wine will unpack a bit and open up to show even more expressive qualities.

Thomas Rivers Brown

2014 Stone The Crows Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Growing Season

Following suit with the previous two vintages, 2014 produced exceptional fruit, creating wines with intense aromatics and complex, layered flavor profiles.  What sets 2014 apart is two-fold.  Both overall quantities and individual berry size was down significantly from the previous two vintages.  2014 also marked the earliest harvest for Cabernet Sauvignon that even multi-generational Napa Valley winemaking families had experienced.  The growing season albeit compact, was notable for its even and consistent temperatures.  There weren’t any dramatic heat spikes so the fruit matured on the vine with sugars and flavors advancing in accord.  The smaller crop and berry size produced wines that are incredibly dark due to the increase in skin-to-juice ratio and the end result is wine of great character.

It’s hard to imagine a vineyard that gets so much uninhibited sun exposure throughout the day could produce a wine that is so complex, brooding and cavernous.  Upon initial inspection, the color of this wine is impenetrable black-purple.  The aromatic profile is densely multi-layered, exhibiting notes of black licorice, lavender, cassis, graphite; all the classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon characteristics. The mouth feel is highlighted by round red fruit notes in the front of the palate, transitioning deeper into crushed blackberries, river rock, cocoa nib, tobacco leaf and toasted cedar bark in the mid-palate, all the way through the elongated, ethereal finish.  This wine is a very pure, effusive expression of Cabernet Sauvignon.  With 5+ years in the cellar it will evolve into an even more expressive wine, which is difficult to fathom now.

Thomas Rivers Brown

2014 Fallen Feather Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Growing Season

Following suit with the previous two vintages, 2014 produced exceptional fruit, creating wines with intense aromatics and complex, layered flavor profiles.  What sets 2014 apart is two-fold.  Both overall quantities and individual berry size was down significantly from the previous two vintages.  2014 also marked the earliest harvest for Cabernet Sauvignon that even multi-generational Napa Valley winemaking families had experienced.  The growing season albeit compact, was notable for its even and consistent temperatures.  There weren’t any dramatic heat spikes so the fruit matured on the vine with sugars and flavors advancing in accord.  The smaller crop and berry size produced wines that are incredibly dark due to the increase in skin-to-juice ratio and the end result is wine of great character.

In the glass this wine possesses a nearly opaque dark purple hue.  Vivid aromatics emerge, dominated by notes of dark brambly fruit, graphite, black licorice, and sandalwood. Rich notes of cassis, plum skin, cranberry compote and worn leather are woven throughout the palate experience.  While this wine starts with a pleasing fruit focus, the finish is where the structure comes through with a balanced fine tannin profile.  This wine will benefit with an hour decant before enjoying and over the next 2-3 years will age gracefully in your cellar.

Thomas Rivers Brown

2013 Stone the Crows Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Growing Season

2013 signalled another year with a bumper crop and ideal growing conditions, with even temperatures throughout the growing season only peaking above 100 degrees once in June.  This led to the progression of the clusters going from budbreak, to bloom, to set and into veraison with a remarkable consistent pace.  When nature doesn’t force or stall the hand of the vines to move through their growth cycle, what can potentially come through in the finished wine is limitless.  In the case of the 2013 Stone The Crows Cabernet Sauvignon it is a pure expression of the site, and everything good that Cabernet Sauvignon has to offer.

Immediately on the nose there are deeply layered aromas that draw you in with notes of cocoa nib, tack room, graphite and baking spices.  On the palate there is a robust, spherical mouthfeel that encapsulates complex notes of brambly fruit, crushed rock, black tea, and cassis with a clean finish that does not overstay its welcome.  One of the most striking qualities of this vintage is the keen balance of both power and richness complemented by a clean purity of form.  This wine will age will the same kind of grace it displays in the glass today for at least 7-10 years.

Thomas Rivers Brown

2013 Fallen Feather Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Growing Season

2013 signalled another year with a bumper crop and ideal growing conditions, with even temperatures throughout the growing season only peaking above 100 degrees once in June.  This led to the progression of the clusters going from budbreak, to bloom, to set and into veraison with a remarkable consistent pace.  When nature doesn’t force or stall the hand of the vines to move through their growth cycle, what can potentially come through in the finished wine is limitless.  In the case of the 2013 Stone The Crows Cabernet Sauvignon it is a pure expression of the site, and everything good that Cabernet Sauvignon has to offer.

This wine undoubtedly comes from Three Twins vineyard as you immediately experience sweeping high tone aromatic notes coming from the glass, a hallmark of the site.  On the palate, the mouthfeel is incredibly sleek and has a nice balance of very bright and airy fruit notes, coupled with an earthiness and structured set of tannins.  This is definitely a wine meant to be enjoyed early on, but with 2-3 years in the cellar, the hillside tannin profile will become smoother and more refined.

Thomas Rivers Brown