Our Wineries

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CARDINALE

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CARDINALE

Cardinale, located in Napa Valley’s world-renowned Oakville District, crafts a single Cabernet Sauvignon from each vintage. The wine is a limited-production blend from Napa Valley’s most celebrated mountain appellations, including Diamond Mountain, Howell Mountain, Mount Veeder, and Spring Mountain. Each of our esteemed mountain vineyards creates a beautiful note unto itself, but the composition they create together results in a remarkable symphony of flavor, texture, and complexity.Mountain terroir is essential to Cardinale’s character. While the rocky soils, steep aspects and exposed conditions are among the most challenging in California, they also produce the most structured, masculine and complex wines.

The core of Cardinale is estate vineyards located in two prime sub-appellations, Mount Veeder and Howell Mountain. The supporting components come from mountain and benchland plantings in Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain, St. Helena and Stags Leap. Mountain-grown fruit is elemental to Cardinale, as vines struggle in the thin, rocky soils and on steep slopes, thus producing grapes with intense flavor, layered complexity and age-worthy tannins. At lower elevations, the fruit has a more vivid floral character, rich mid-palate and finer tannins. Blending brings it all together into a singular wine.

Winemaker

A University of Illinois football defensive lineman, president and chairman of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, food lover, soccer dad, and holder of master’s degrees in horticulture and business, Cardinale winemaker Christopher Carpenter is as multi-layered as the wines he makes. After graduating from UC Davis’ Viticulture & Enology program in 1998, he joined Cardinale, becoming winemaker in 2001. Equally an expert at grape growing as he is at making wine, Christopher vinifies grapes from more than a dozen vineyards throughout Napa Valley, and through arduous blending, creates a wine that demonstrates the personality of each vintage, and whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

“Every winemaker has a different philosophy on blending. I blend Cardinale just before bottling, when the 30-40 wine lots we start with have had time to evolve. The lots change so much during the two years in barrel if I blended earlier the wine would not be as complex. I taste each barrel every quarter. When it’s time to blend, three or four barrels typically stand out, and those wines become the base. In this moment, it typically shows depth of character, but still has gaps to fill. Layering small amounts of individual lots, allows me to achieve consistent weight and length, even though each vintage of Cardinale is different.” – Christopher Carpenter, Winemaker

Philosophy

Cardinale winemaker and music lover Christopher Carpenter views vineyards in Napa Valley as his orchestra, and the grapes grown in its various sub-appellations are the individual instruments he conducts. When blended together the fruit becomes the symphony that is Cardinale. The myriad soils, climate, elevation and exposure of each sub-region and specific vineyard – covering mountains, hillsides, benches and valley floor – represent the string sections, the woodwinds, the brass and the percussion of a concert.

“Once blending is complete,” says Carpenter, “Cardinale expresses the character of a vintage rather than the character of a single vineyard or sub-appellation. Napa Valley is one of those geographies, in which consistent, high-quality vintages can move you emotionally, just like music.”