The 2012 Butala Cabernet Sauvignon is inky violet in color and has ripe, black cherry aroma with soft, supple tannins.
This 12-acre Castello Estate vineyard is located in the new Napa Valley AVA of Coombsville, just east of the town of Napa, in an area with very rocky, red volcanic soils and steep hillside slopes. It was planted in 1989 to several rootstocks and clonal selections of Cabernet Sauvignon, with one small block of Merlot. These 25-year-old vines produce a small crop of highly concentrated fruit.
An estate-bottled wine is made entirely from grapes owned by the winery, and the wine is made entirely on the winery's property—it doesn't ever leave the property during fermentation, aging, or bottling. The winery and vineyards don't have to be contiguous, but they have to be located in the same appellation. In the U.S., the "estate" term has been expanded to include not only vineyards owned by a wine label, but also ones that are managed or controlled by the winery, even if they're actually owned by someone else.
2012 will be a vintage to remember. Near perfect weather conditions resulted in a rare combination of high quality fruit and an abundant crop load. Thanks to dry conditions through winter and spring, the 2012 growing season started off with an earlier than typical spring bud break, bringing it forward by an average of one week. A mild and sunny spring resulted in steady flowering and even fruit-set, allowing the vines to set yields as much as 20% more grapes per cluster compared to previous vintages. The summer months brought in a lengthy stretch of warm days and cool and often foggy nights, with verasion taking place in early July, a full two weeks earlier than in 2011. The cool period at the end of September, followed by unusually warm weather in the beginning of October, allowed for the development of a harmonious balance of acids and sugars, and high polyphenol content in reds. The majority of fruit was picked at ideal ripeness prior to the arrival of rain in late October, making coordination of the avalanche of grapes arriving in the winery one of the greatest challenges of the harvest. 2012 promises to be truly exceptional; with wines of well-structured tannins, rich concentration, and developed aromatics defining the vintage.