x
  • Weather

    29° C Clear sky
  • Time

    12:55 PM
  • Wine average?

    93.3 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    27
  • Region Ranking?

    21
  • Popularity ranking?

    152

History

When walking on the well-manicured vineyards belonging to Claude and Katherine Blankiet while listening to their passionate description about the terroir of the Blankiet Estate, one cannot help but conclude that this winery truly is one of the top estates in Napa Valley.

The couple established a 16-acre Blankiet Paradise Hills in 1996 after finding a dream spot just behind Dominus Estate in Yountville, in the steep foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. They followed the pattern that some of the top wine estates had used and asked the most famous viticulturist in Napa Valley, David Abreu, to develop the vineyards, while superstar winemaker Helen Turley was hired to make the wines. The recipe worked well. Abreu planted the vineyards with different four varietals and specific clones according to the different microclimates that he discovered on the property. The alluvial clay sites were planted with Merlot, while the volcanic and rocky parts were chosen to host Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

The perfectly manicured vines are cultivated using sustainable farming and focusing on protecting the grapes from excess heat and sunlight. In order to achieve this, the Blankiets’ use an extensive misting system and shade cloth strips protecting the fruiting zone of the south and western rows of the vineyards.

“As much I love the sun of Napa Valley and the ripeness our climate is capable of producing, we sometimes need to protect the vibrancy and freshness of the fruit. Power and elegance is what defines our wines,” Claude Blankiet explains.

The first seven vintages of Blankiet Estate wines were made by Helen Turley. After her, respected oenologist Martha McClellan Levy became in charge. She was assisted by the famous wine consultant Michel Rolland, who was hired to create the flagship blends of Blankiet Estate. He introduced the practice of fermenting each micro harvest individually and aging each lot separately for one year before blending them.

Following Rolland’s recommendation, starting with the 2006 vintage Blankiet released two flagship wines: The Estate Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Rive Droite proprietary Red is a Saint Emilion or Pomerol style wine is based on the finest barrels selection of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The oenologist behind Blankiet wines for the past three years is Denis Malbec, former Château Latour cellar master.

“After twenty years we are still learning and discovering the intricacy of our vineyard. It is a complex site but the vines have matured, and we know where the sweet spots are located. We are confident that we are finally harnessing the full potential of the estate," Claude Blankiet says. 

Blankiet Estate has been the pioneer in the USA in providing collectors the best method to authenticate their purchases. For the past seven vintages, we have applied a special seal called a Bubble Tag™ to each of our flagship bottles guarantying their origin and integrity. Thanks to this seal, consumers are able online via internet or via mobile smart phone to access detailed information concerning the bottle, the vintage and its ratings from Robert Parker.

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Vineyards

Our Paradise Hills Vineyard is farmed organically and great care is taken to maintain the balance of the soil. Nutrients taken from the land during the growing season and harvest are replaced using green manure. A mix of winter grasses and legumes such as clover, winter rye, sorghum and sweet peas, are seeded between rows. When spring comes, the grasses are mowed down and spaded back into the soil.

Grape vines regenerate from seed or from vegetative offshoots of the canes. Seed reproduction is a complicated path and Mother Nature seems to prefer the easiest method of vegetative growth to create new vines. As vintners, our goal of course is to produce wine, therefore we need to entice the vine to grow fruit as the preferred method of reproduction.

To coax the vines to focus on growing fruit instead of canes and leaves, we limit their potential vegetative expansion. Our guiding principle is inspired by ancient Greeks and Romans: “Bacchus amat colles” or “Bacchus loves the hills”. Vineyards planted in nutrition-depleted, well-drained hillsides will produce better wine.

To further enhance our wine’s concentration and complexity, we limit the number of clusters a vine will be allowed to ripen. During the growing season extra buds, flowers, clusters and leaves are carefully thinned out, allowing each vine to produce a metered amount of fruit according to its age and specific weather conditions of the season.

Water needs are carefully monitored by checking the amount of moisture in the leaves to prevent the vines from shutting down. Diminishing sunlight by mid-summer tells the vines the end of the season is in sight and all their energy is to be spent in ripening the berries.

Two decades of farming at Paradise Hills has taught us that because we grow four varietals of grapes — planted in many different soils with an array of sun exposure — our berries ripen sequentially, requiring up to seventeen mini-harvests to be picked at their optimal state of maturity.

While sugar levels, acidity and pH provide the guideline for our harvest, the picking decisions are assessed subjectively by tasting the berries during our daily walk through the vineyard.

When a particular area is deemed ready for picking, the fruiting zone of each vine is de-leafed in the late afternoon and any bird-damaged clusters are dropped to the ground.

Harvesting begins at 4:00 am the next day. The crew is mindful not to pick leaves or bruise the berries, which are collected in mini stackable trays that are palletized and transferred to cold caves.

Inspection and sorting begins at 7:00 am. Grapes are handpicked from their trays and individually evaluated. Ideal clusters proceed onto the elevator belt of the de-stemmer while the rest are dumped into compost bins.

The selected clusters are fed through a small machine equipped with rubber fingers that gently knock the berries off their stems.

The fruit is then transferred onto a vibrating table with two inspection conveyors. The sorting assembly is fifty feet long and operated by 18 to 28 people who remove immature green berries, dry raisins and bird-damaged fruit.

Carbon dioxide ice is then added to the collecting bins to maintain the fruit at a cold temperature while displacing oxygen. Finally, the bins are gravity loaded into small fermentation tanks to begin their cold maceration cycle.

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Winemaking

Great wine comes from great grapes. We take extra care in preserving the flavors of the fruit during our winemaking process. Each pick is fermented separately  in small custom made stainless steel tanks. First, a week of cold maceration allows enzymes to soften the cellular structure of the berries while alcoholic fermentation remains inhibited by low temperature. Color and water soluble aromatic compounds are extracted during this period. Next, the mass of fruit is slowly warmed and the yeasts start transforming grape-sugar into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. It is an exothermic reaction so temperatures are closely monitored to maintain an optimum environment for the yeasts to thrive.

Each tank is tasted twice daily and pump-over protocols are established for the day. Grape-juice is already a complex aqueous solution but its transformation into wine creates many more compounds: Glycerin, other types of alcohol (propyl, butyl, amyl) and several new acids (succinic, acetic, propionic and traces of valerianic acid). Esters, aldehydes all combining and interacting with each other to create flavors and aromas in the wine.

When the new wine has reached its peak of balance it is transferred into new French oak barrels. The casks are then moved to a warm cave to go through a full malolactic to lactic acid transformation. Within a couple of months the wine loses tartness and excess acidity and the barrels are moved to the cold aging caves where they will mature for the next two years.

The underground aging caves are vibration free, cooled to 54 degrees and 95% humidity with constant air movement. Some of the wine evaporates allowing a metered amount of oxygen to penetrate the oak barrels. This controlled breathing is essential for the chemical transformation occurring during barrel maturation when tannins, alcohols, acids and esters further create complex aromas and flavors. A couple of years later the wine is bottled on location without any filtration or fining.

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People

  • Claude Blankiet

    Proprietor
    After twenty years we are still learning and discovering the intricacy of our vineyard. It is a complex site but the vines have matured, and we know where the sweet spots are located. We are confident that we are finally harnessing the full potential of the estate.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Doug Hill / Wine Importer, Pro (Canada)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Tasting Napa vintages 2010 and 2011 - both great to drink already.

9m 9d ago

 Fernando Pessoa, Pro (Spain)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  11 wines 

On April 22 Antonio Galloni and Vinous hosted 2010 Napa Valley: An Epic Vintage at the NoMad Rooftop, one of the most striking locations in New York City.

9m 18d ago

 Michelle Harrison, Wine Collector (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  15 wines 

“Blankiet 2013 / Decanted two hour. Dark and deep red! Very complex and developing nose – creme de cassis, cedar, cigar, lead pencil. Rich full-bodied taste stands out being very ripe and intense but at the same time somehow very elegant. Ripe pure cassis flavours are married with lovely velvety tannins and delicate acidity. Very vigorm but refined and stylish – modern Napa style with elegant voluptuousness. Extremely well-balanced long aftertaste. Aristocratic wine already: 96 points.”

1y 7m ago

 Wallace Shawn / Wine Investing Consult, Wine Dealer (Luxembourg)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  24 wines 

“Some 2012 Napa cabs - Bryant Family and Colgin were stars of the night:
Bryant Family 2012, Bottle in a excellent condition and has by the neck level. Colour is ruby red, bright and full. On the nose it is intense, fresh, seductive and rich. The taste is focused, refined, with silky tannins. Full-bodied, with balanced good texture and concentrated structure. On the palate it is layered and has dried-fruit, raspberry, truffles, tropical fruits, blackcurrant, spice, smoky and cigar-box flavours. The finish is long, extensive, flavorful and pure. This wine is intelligent, sophisticated and fine. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting. 95 points”

1y 9m ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  16 wines 

“G Major 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 98 points / It is blended from selected fruit off the 575 ovx vineyard and is named after a classic jazz guitar chord. Like its namesake, it is composed of four of the five classic Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Merlot. G Major 7 is highly nuanced and provides a profound sense of elegance and complexity, changing with every swirl and sip. The nose reflects subtle floral notes, which develop into deep, crushed berry and earth flavors on the palate. Its tannins are refined and seamlessly integrated. The aging potential is 25 plus years.”

1y 10m ago

 Jon Grant / Sommelier, Pro (Mexico)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“Blanket 2010 / Good looking normal size bottle and is in a excellent condition. Colour is ruby red, and looking healthy, evolved and deep. On the nose it is wide, refined and seductive. The taste is focused, elegant, fragrant, and average in acidity, full-bodied, with balanced, good texture, complex structure and developing. On the palate it is layered and has floral, mineral, tobacco, violet, herbs, honey and leather flavours. The finish is long, round, flavorful and vibrant. This wine is sophisticated, transparent and excellent. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting.”

1y 10m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  25 wines 

“Napa 2007 Vintage / The harvest season was exceptionally long, mild and dry. Thanks to the dryness and warmth, the spring growing season started a week earlier than normal. The rainfall for the year was low: only sixty per cent of normal. By withholding the rain, Mother Nature ensured that the vines did not grow too much, and she also made sure the grape’s phenols had the ideal amount of ripening time.

2y 5m ago

 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  15 wines 

“This was a vintage that yielded wines with great layers and nuances thanks to prolonged harvest period. The fruit material was very ripe, but showed as well a lot of freshness and lively acidity. For me it is reminiscent of the 2005 but with a greater degree of concentration. –Cory Empting, Winemaker of Harlan and BOND Estate”

4y 1m ago

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