The 2006 is performing even better from bottle than it did from barrel. Sloan and McClellan decided to bottle it later than usual, recognizing the rugged, tough tannins of the vintage could be sweetened up with longer barrel aging. Their strategy worked. The wine’s dense ruby/purple color is followed by notes of white chocolate, burning embers, creme de cassis, coffee, and scorched earth (think Haut-Brion or La Mission Haut-Brion). It possesses terrific structure, melted, well-integrated tannins, full body, and is already bursting with complexity. A great success, it is one of the vintage’s most thrilling wines. Drink it over the next 20-25 years.
With fewer than ten vintages under their belt, it is amazing what proprietor Stuart Sloan and his winemaker, the talented Martha McClellan, have accomplished. Production is slightly above 600 cases, with the potential of 1,000 cases eventually coming from these beautiful hillside slopes above the Auberge du Soleil, on the eastern hillsides of Napa. These wines, meant for three decades of cellaring, tend to be blends of 80-85% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and a tiny dollop of Merlot.