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Stephane Derenoncourt launches his own Napa Valley wines

Bordeaux wine consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt has launched his own range of California wines.

The 2006 vintage of Derenoncourt’s Napa range was launched this week at the Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, Napa Valley.

The winemaker consults for leading estates such as Canon-La-Gaffeliere and La Mondotte in St Emilion, as well Francis Ford Coppola’s Rubicon Estate, and

projects in Lebanon, Turkey, China, and India.

This is the first time he has made his own wine in the United States.

‘I held back the wines until I felt they were ready to be drunk,’ Derenoncourt told decanter.com. ‘The 2007s will be out next Autumn.’

The five wines come from 14 small-scale plots across Napa, chosen for their altitude, cool microclimates, and soil characteristics. They are made in custom crush facilities in Arkenstone in Howell Mountain.

The range consists of a two Cabernet Sauvignons, one from the high-altitude Lake County Red Hills Vineyard and the other from Caldwell Vineyard, a Syrah from Hudson Vineyards in Carneros, a Cabernet Franc from Caldwell Vineyard, and a Merlot from Stagecoach vineyard on Atlas Peak.

Derenoncourt particularly favours Cabernet Franc, growing it on his biodynamic vineyard Domaine de l’A in Cotes de Bordeaux in Castillon.

The intention is to make Californian-style wines, but with the emphasis on elegance and freshness. ‘These are not big wines full of residual sugar,’ he says.

Winemaker Hélène Mingot, who has collaborated with Derenoncourt on projects in Bordeaux and Tuscany, will be based permanently in Napa to run the project.

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Written by Jane Anson

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