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Family Farm Vineyard is the result of special partnership between neighbors. Realizing the potential of its loamy clay soil and eastern aspect, in 2002 the Sletten, Martin, Sullivan and Harvey families decided to convert this former Christmas tree farm into a vineyard. The weather is very similar to our Home Vineyard, while the alluvial sand and clay soils are unique. Like many of the best vineyards in Burgundy, the East-facing aspect shelters the vines from the warmer afternoon sun, allowing the grapes to retain freshness and aromatic dimension.
Family Farm wines are powerful yet elegant with red and black fruit, and a distinctive stalky complexity that becomes integrated and floral with age. While they are typically charming and forward on release, they also age extremely well. The first vintage, 2004, has only recently reached full maturity.
The year 2008 reminded Napa Valley producers of the climate conditions their European colleagues often battle. The wild weather put the vineyards to the test and required more measures than usual to ensure an optimal harvest. Due to the exceptional weather conditions, the terroir played a significant role in shaping the character of the resulting wines. Some of the influencing factors were soil quality, vineyard-specific weather patterns, the age of vines and the farming methods used
After the extensive 2008 Napa Cabernet tasting, there were no great qualitative differences, however, as the wines at the tasting all represented some of the best that these top producers have to offer. Although the scores ranged between 86 and 96 points, the differences will even out through longer ageing, as the wines will reach their optimum drinkability within 10–15 years. It was wonderful to note that a great deal of the wines were characterised by a seductively succulent fruitiness, which made many of them enjoyable already – more than half of the wines have scored 90 or more points, despite their young age. Whereas the great 2007 vintage contains very refined and long-lived wines, the 2008 wines charmed tasters with their open and generous style, even though their best days are still far in the future.