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    15° C Scattered clouds
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    23:10 PM
  • Wine average?

    97 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    18
  • Region Ranking?

    18
  • Popularity ranking?

    134

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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Inside information

Winemaker Graeme MacDonald is a fourth generation Napa Valley wine grower who resides on his family property within the famous To Kalon Vineyard. He studied Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis before founding MACDONALD in 2010, where he serves as winemaker and vineyard manager. Robert Mondavi used to refer to his family as “the best grape-growers in the Napa Valley,” a commitment that resonates today.

Vineyard Manager George Avina is one of those blessed individuals who has a soulful connection to their work. He truly loves what he does. He is at peace when he walks the vineyards and the vines are his friends and surrogate family: he talks to them and cares for them. George was trained by viticulturist David Abreu for many years and has been tending the Paradise Hills Vineyards exclusively for almost a decade. Nothing goes unnoticed by George.

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5 different wines with 31 vintages

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.

Highlights

Latest news

TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2022 – The Best Wine Critics of the World  / TOP 30
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TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS 100 BEST CHAMPAGNES 2022 / by Champagne Magazine and Tastingbook.com
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TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Gérard Basset Foundation announces 14 funding grants to fuel diversity in the wine industry / The Trustees of the Gérard Basset Foundation have awarded funding grants to 14 institutional and community partners to fund diversity wine education programmes after raising over £1,200,000 at the Golden Vines awards ceremony and related auctions.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Harlan Estate and BOND appoint Kerry Wines as China distributor / Napa Valley icon Harlan Estate and BOND, pet project of Harlan’s owner Bill Harlan, have announced a partnership with Kerry Wines to be their distributor in China.
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TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS The Fine Wine Market in 2021 / All previous records set in 2020 have been broken and surpassed in 2021, marking the most successful year ever for the secondary fine wine market.
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Wine Moments

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

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  15 wines 

I was so impressed with this super second wine of Blankiet Estate. Such a harmonious and volaptuous wine despite its young age and in terms of its price - this wine is true FIND! The wine is a blend of 51.5% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cab Franc, and 3.5% Petit Verdot. Deep, purple to garnet red colour. Intense nose with ripe brambles and cassis, refined toasty new oak aromas with mocha, cocoa, nutmeg and warm spicies. Full-bodied satiny texture with ripe fruitiness and extremely smooth tannins. Lingering warm and spicy finish with great harmony. Delivers great joy now but will reveal its true colours in next 2029-2034. Perfect match with roasted Pigeon served with parmesan and beetroot risotto. JL 96+p (3/2022)

6m 22d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  8 wines 

The Napa Red lineup from 1991 to 2018 showed once again the greatness of Napa reds. They are so enjoyable at the very early stage like Blankiet Rive Droite 2018 (97p) is still a baby but so charming and elegantly volaptuous. Heitz Martha's Vineyard 2013 is a teenager who is just starting to bloom and Merryvale's Profile from the great vintage 1991 (94p) pleases with its gracefully aged opulent style. 

1y 6m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  185 wines 

BWW2021 competition finals were filled with superb lineup of the world's greatest wines and superb finds from various price categories. The finals that were run in various blind tasting sessions, revealed many surprises. Most commonly, the fact that all the wines were so enjoyable already at this young stage, although many of them will deliver so much more after ageing of 10-15 years. Congratulations for all the winners!

1y 8m ago

 Antonio Galloni, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Bryant Family 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, tasted from a working base blend, is just magnificent. Seldom - maybe never - I have seen a young Bryant Cabernet that is this well put-together at this stage. The integrity of the fruit, acid and structure is outstanding. Sweet red and purplish fruit, sweet floral notes and spice are all beautifully lifted. The 2018 is flat-out stunning. That's all there is to it.

1y 9m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  61 wines 

The third long and rewarding BWW2020 -tasting day is now behind. Here is my personal list over 90 points wines! Thank you again for all the other tasters - tasting 146 young fine wines from all over the world is always a hard work day - but because they are "the Best Wines of the World - it makes so much easier and more fun. 

1y 9m ago

 Camille Meyrou / Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Great Bottle Share evening with 12 friends all connected to wines, we had all of them on a blind tasting except for Smith Haut Lafitte 2007 that we had as a Predrink.

The highlight of the tasting were : 
-Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge ! Top notch, very well made !


-Domaine du Pruerat, a regular Bordeaux wine, which all falsely leaded us into Medoc GCC. The proof that regular Bordeaux AOC can also make outstanding wines !

-Maucaillou 2000, that was a great pick as well, we all recognised the  style of an old medoc communal red.


 


We also tasted that night 2019 samples of Domaine Clarence Dillons wines ( Haut Brion, Mission, Chapelle & Clarence ) and it was great :)

2y 3m ago

 Stephen Tanzer, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Screaming Eagle 2010 / (75% cabernet sauvignon, 16% merlot and 9% cabernet franc; the harvest here ended on October 13, about two weeks later than usual): Brilliant ruby-red. Urgent aromas of crushed boysenberry, wild herbs, licorice and spearmint are complemented by sexy oak tones. Densely packed and electric, with great energy to the highly concentrated, pliant flavors of black fruits, cocoa powder and flowers. Still quite youthfully backward, but the inexorable slowly mounting finish and big but noble tannins suggest a long and glorious evolution in bottle. Owing to the small clusters, thick skins and concentration of tannins, this wine got a longer elevage than usual, with the bottling done at the end of November 2012.

2y 10m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  43 wines 

Château Mouton-Rothschild 2014 / Intense Mouton with velvety tannins, dark cassis notes and savory herbs. This is a restrained Mouton that has power and good density. The long hang time and growing period in this vintage means everything was concentrated - tannins, flavor and acidity. The alcohol is just over 13%. This is a wine to lay down

3y 3m ago

 David Clarke / Sommelier, Pro (South Africa)  tasted  1 wines  from  Blankiet Estate . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Niepoort Redoma Tinto is Niepoort’s original Douro wine, first released in 1991. It is like Douro: “extreme, with a rigorous character”. Redoma represents the Douro as it is: wild, with strong character, capable of giving structured dark colored wines, with good acidity, full of complexity and personality, but also balanced and elegant, with great ageing potential.

3y 6m ago

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