Townsend Vineyard is planted high on the ridge of the upper Rector Canyon watershed. The soil is made up of Pliocene volcanic, mainly of andesite and basalt rocks. Townsend Vineyard’s architecture is derived from the Antinori vineyard philosophy in Tuscany. All planting decisions were based on row direction (east to west) to attain the best sun exposure; high density vine spacing (2,233 vines per acre) to achieve low fruit yield per vine; and selection of rootstocks and clones best suited to the land and climate to ensure ideal fruit expression.
The 2008 harvest season resulted in a small Cabernet Sauvignon crop for Antica Napa Valley and is remembered as a vintage of extremes. Dry weather, a spring frost, and a short heat spike in August made it a viticulturist’s year, and close attention to the vines was vital. The extremes led to superior results. The dry weather produced small berries, yielding a high skin to juice ratio and a natural potential for richness. The warm days and cool nights of the high elevation Townsend Vineyard kept grapes fresh on their slow build to ideal ripeness.
Grapes were hand-harvested in the cool morning hours. Preserving varietal aroma and creating a well-textured wine was of utmost importance during fermentation. The abundant, aromatically rich and fine-textured tannins were easy to extract. After primary fermentation, the wine was put in French oak barrels where malolactic fermentation took place by year’s end. The wine aged an additional 15 months. During this time, individual barrels were tended to ensure the elegance and character of the tannins. The wine was blended and bottled on the estate, then aged an additional year before release. Antinori Chief Enologist Renzo Cotarella oversaw production of this wine.
Only 22% of the grapes harvested from Townsend Vineyard were used to create the “Townsend Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon. This small vineyard area was harvested on September 30 and October 1. The yield was slightly less than 2 pounds of fruit per vine. Great care was taken to select clusters of uniform maturity.