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Winery: Checkerboard Vineyards
Region: California - Napa Valley - Diamond Mountain District
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon)
Wine Style: Red - Bold and Structured
Food Pairing: Beef, Lamb, Game (deer, venison), Chicken
Winemaker Notes & Critical Acclaim:
A classic vintage... 2015 Checkerboard Aurora Vineyard is expansive and generous. It offers a luscious interpretation of its site and the vintage. Aromas are both sweet and savory, broadly expressive of fresh Blackberries, Bing Cherries, Cranberries, and dried Herbs. On the palate, 2015 Checkerboard Aurora is structured and offers finely polished tannins with a full mid-palate that is lifted by natural acidity and enhanced in a lengthy, lingering finish. In its youth, the 2015 vintage benefits from decanting prior to serving. - Winemaker Note
About The Producer:
Checkerboard Vineyards is located on the southeast facing slope of Diamond Mountain in Napa Valley. The estate includes a winery, cave and four vineyard sites, joined by a two-and-one-half mile drive spanning the valley floor to the top of the ridge. This dramatic setting is the inspiration for the distinctive, exceptional wines of Checkerboard Vineyards.
The winery is dedicated solely to the vinification of Checkerboard Vineyards wines and was built to control every aspect of winemaking.
Eight custom Taransaud French Oak Upright Casks are used to create numerous, small lots of wine from micro-harvests of each vineyard.
The estate has four vineyard sites of different elevation, exposure and soil composition.
Spring Meadows Vineyard is situated at 600 feet in elevation on a meadow surrounded by Oak, big leaf Maple and Madrone trees. The soils are rich from the neighboring woods and the site enjoys full east to west sun exposure.
Coyote Ridge Vineyard is located on a long undulating ridgeline that runs Eastward downhill from the Aurora Vineyard knoll. The vineyard blocks are perched on the hillside above Nash Creek Canyon to the South and share the same red iron oxide clay as the upper blocks of Aurora Vineyard. Though the soils are similar, the Southern and slightly Eastern exposure of Coyote Ridge, along with its lower 900 foot elevation, allows the top of the summer fog line to reach the Vineyard. This creates an entirely different microclimate and growing cycle for its vines.
Aurora Vineyard is nestled in a small valley midway up Diamond Mountain on a large knoll located at an elevation of 1,200 feet. The knoll projects off the mountainside, giving the vineyard full Southern exposure and open light from the East and West and protection from Napa Valley's summer fog. Six acres of the vineyard are planted in the knoll's rich, volcanic soils that are riddled with basalt cobble in a loamy red clay. The remaining six acres are planted in a deep gravely mix of white volcanic ash and chips of decomposed Rhyolite that were washed down from the steep, rocky crags of Diamond Mountain above.
At 2,000 feet in elevation and at the top of the Estate is Nash Creek Vineyard. The blocks rest just below the East ridge of Diamond Mountain on a steeply sloping terrace composed entirely of Rhyolite. At this elevation, winter temperatures are colder and extend into early Spring, and bud break takes place up to six weeks later than our vineyards below. By early Summer, Nash Creek Vineyard catches up and surpasses the growth of the Aurora and Coyote Ridge Vineyards. This due to the lingering daytime heat absorbed by its rocky base and the nighttime convective warmth rising from the Napa Valley below, providing nearly round-the-clock grape maturation.
Farming practices at Checkerboard Vineyards are based on long-term sustainability and include water conservation and monitoring, permanent cover crops planted in alternating rows, and the use of entomology for pest control.
The cave complex has six individual, temperature-controlled rooms for use in winemaking and barrel aging. Barrels are placed single height for quality control and monitored for humidity and other environmental conditions using a state-of-the-art technology system.
Wines are aged, bottled, hand labeled and packed for shipment in the cave complex, ensuring consistent temperature throughout its creation.
Winemaker Martha McClellan has directed the winemaking and winegrowing programs since the first vintage in 2006. Her precise specifications and careful guidance set the standard for operations at Checkerboard Vineyards.