THE GRADE Cellars

Into The Mystic
2018 Cabernet Sauvignon
Calistoga

2020 Offering
Premiere Napa Valley
Auction 24 | Lot No. 70
Vintage

2018

THE GRADE Cellars

Into The Mystic

Cabernet Sauvignon
Calistoga

5 cases produced

Highlights

  • Thomas Rivers Brown pronounces Block 5 as his hands-down favorite among Winfield Vineyard’s seven blocks
  • Thomas selects the best barrel of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon which is aging in new French oak
  • His wizardry captures the dark fruit, supple acidity and robust tannins from this site’s small berries
  • The blending of Calistoga earthiness, vineyardist prowess and winemaker magic creates a mystical wine

An excursion “into the mystic." Our Winfield Vineyard estate is nestled in the foothills of Mount St. Helena above Calistoga. Its diverse array of soils fanning from surrounding hills are divided into seven blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon. Thomas Rivers Brown has created three distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons from within this diversity. Sounds perfect, right? That said, our 2020 Premiere Napa Valley wine is sourced from Block 5, which is an anomaly among these seven blocks. It is anything but a textbook Cabernet Sauvignon site. Unlike the typical gravelly and cobbly loams of the broader vineyard, the Block 5 corner is a mixture of clay loams, shaded in the afternoon and the least thirsty of the sections. Despite these ironies, this block consistently produces small berries that result in powerful wines with concentrations of dark fruit and ample acidity. We not only bottle these grapes as our best estate Cabernet Sauvignon, but Thomas is selecting the absolute best barrel for this Premiere wine. Whether this paradox of terroir and wine is resolved through winemaking wizardry or simply by accident, the result is a mystical experience. A mystic may call it an accident of thought and a truth of nature.


Wine Facts

  • Single vineyard wine
  • Sustainably produced
  • Wine is 100% estate grown and bottled

Thomas Rivers Brown

Winemaker, THE GRADE Cellars

Winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown

Napa Valley is home to many exceptional winemakers. Then there's Thomas Rivers Brown.

Thomas joined THE GRADE Cellars at the end of the 2011 harvest and has brought an exciting new palate and keen vineyard perception to our wine program. He may be known locally as a gentleman with abundant southern charm and a wonderful family, but he is acclaimed internationally for his extraordinary wines.

Thomas is one of the most exciting talents in winemaking today. Born in Sumter, South Carolina, Thomas developed an interest in wine while attending the University of Virginia. He worked the 1997 harvest for Kent Rasmussen before becoming an assistant winemaker for Ehren Jordan, winemaker at Turley Wine Cellars and consultant to a number of other high profile California wineries.

In addition to THE GRADE Cellars wines which he makes for us at Sundance Ranch in Calistoga, TRB is also dedicated to his own project, Rivers-Marie wine, known for its Pinot Noirs and also made at Sundance. When asked what differentiates the many brands he makes, he responds, "I can't really define it, but I know it when I taste it." He takes pride in there not being a recognizable trait in his wines - spoken like a true artist.

In October 2008, Thomas made history as the youngest winemaker to score not just one, but two perfect "100 point" ratings from Robert M. Parker, The Wine Advocate. After his first full vintage at THE GRADE Cellars, Thomas debuted with a "99 point" score from Robert Parker for our 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which we named "Kingly Project", and a "97 point" Parker score for our 2012 Estate Cabernet.

Thomas' athleticism sustains him through the stress of harvest. And his Aston Martin Rapide allows him to materialize, never late, at vineyard meetings.

Country born: United States

Education: University of Virginia, BA

Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years

Honors / Awards:
Food & Wine's Winemaker of the Year 2010

Winemaking Philosophy:
Starting with the belief that the best wine is made in the vineyard, Thomas pursues a non-interventionist style that eschews technology.

Nakagawa Wine Co.

3-1-3, Kotobashi, Sumida-Ku
Tokyo    130-0022
Japan
03-3631-7979

website


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