The Vineyards Howell Mountain rises just to the northeast of Beringer's winery in St. Helena, and Bancroft Ranch lies at an elevation of 1,800 feet on the western slope of the mountain.The soil here - gritty white tuff of volcanic origin - is shallow, infertile and extremely well drained. The vines produce small, intensely flavored berries with powerful, concentrated fruit flavors and thick skins that yield rich tannins.
Vintage The 2005 vintage got off to a cool start and featured heavy rains towards the end of February, which transitioned into the warmest March on record with temperatures reaching the low 90's. The warm weather continued through May but summer months were cooler than normal. Eight to ten very warm days towards the end of summer helped push maturity. Winemaster Ed Sbragia and Winemaker Laurie Hook decided to harvest the majority of the fruit from early September through mid-October as each block reached the full-flavored maturity they were seeking.
Winemaking With Cabernet of this quality, Ed and Laurie believe in taking a minimalist approach to winemaking. Vinifying the fruit from each vineyard separately, the winemaking team used tailored pump-over techniques for optimal extraction, and then aged the wines for approximately two years in handselected, custom-toasted barrels of new French Nevers oak from coopers with whom they have long-established relationships.