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2004 vintage guide for California Cabernet Sauvignon

drink soon

In the best cases from Napa and Mendocino, well-structured wines with deep flavour concentration offer excellent aging potential

Weather Conditions

This one was an early harvest with picking going at a frantic pace throughout September. It was also compressed as 90% of wineries in the North Coast were finished by the end of September.
The growing season started quickly, with bloom coming almost a month earlier than in previous years. A record three-week hot spell in early March set the tone and pushed the vines. The spring weather continued to be warm, giving way to a cooler May and June. Cabernet Sauvignon went through veraison when the heat arrived in the last week of August and continued over the next two weeks. In the Central Coast, the heat arrived a week later, and picking there became frantic. Throughout September, the hoped-for foggy mornings did not materialise, leaving wineries to deal with warm days and unusually high humidity by early afternoon.
In warmer North Coast sites, Cabernet was harvested a month earlier than normal. Hillside and mountain appellations produced the best Cabernet Sauvignon, but the problem was high sugar levels in advance of flavour development.
Yields were low almost everywhere but many new plantings came online to offset the lighter yields. Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa and Sonoma said to be off by 15-25%.

Best Appellations

Monterey County, Mendocino County, Napa Valley – especially Knights Valley

Best Producers

Peter Michael Winery, Waterstone Winery, Hendry Ranch Wines

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