Courtney Benham 2015 Melange de Baum
Courtney Benham, a leader in quality wine for nearly 30 years, brings you top bottlings from the Napa Valley. From high elevation mountain appellations to benchland vineyards and sun-drenched valley sites, he seeks locations of distinction, offering wines that are expressive, terroir-driven, and exceed expectations.
We sourced our 2015 Mélange du Baum from a collection of tiny vineyard blocks encompassing several row orientations and slopes, all carefully planted to optimize sun exposure. The soil in the Stags Leap District is composed of ancient volcanic alluvial runoff which produces low yields with great intensity and flavor.
The culmination of factors from another drought year in California surprised us with another wonderful vintage. An unseasonably dry and warm winter, which led to an early spring, forced the vines into bud break during peak frost season. However, the spring weather stayed mild during
fruit set and led into a relatively warm summer which hastened ripening to unprecedented early harvest dates. Although the crop, overall, was lighter (and much, much earlier), than we've seen in several years, the outstanding quality of the fruit and resulting wines cannot be understated.
All contributing lots are fermented in small 4-6 ton open top fermenters with at least thrice daily pump overs for cap management. After the wine has finished fermentation and gone dry, it is allowed to rest on its skins for up to a month before being drained and pressed via the gentle basket press. Aged for 21 months in 75% new French oak.
Our Stags Leap Merlot and Cabernet are defined by their subtlety in contrast to the much more immodest mountain fruit, with wild blueberry, and tart mulberry. Subtle elderflower gives way to rich dark currant and note of juniper and fresh tobacco. As is typical of the Stags Leap District
Cabernet, it is always the first out of the gate with an early appreciable mellowing of its tannins and forward presentation. Graphite, leather, and plum offer a lingering finish of quintessential Napa terroir.