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Behind the Scenes at a Napa Valley Winery

Black Stallion Takes Advantage of Cabernet Flavor Profiles

The coziest season of them all is upon us, and with winter’s onset comes the ideal season to enjoy the bold, big rich Cabernets of Napa Valley, the U.S.’s most celebrated region for this noble grape variety. Napa Valley Cabernet offers exactly what one wants in a wine when the temperatures drop and the freezing winds pick up: warmth, richness and deep, intense flavors that beg to be savored alongside hearty winter meals. “Napa Valley is home to 16 different wine growing regions, or appellations, and Cabernet expresses itself differently in each one,” explains Ralf Holdenried, winemaker for Napa Valley’s Black Stallion Estate Winery.

Black Stallion is a Cabernet specialist, and sources the grape from most of Napa’s most important sub-regions for the variety. Its idyllic 32-acre estate was once home to the Silverado Equestrian Center– which explains the winery’s name and the impressive horse statue that commands the entrance to the winery, which lies along Napa’s famed Silverado Trail.

Napa’s fame as a growing region belies its small size: This world-class wine region is actually quite small – just 5 miles wide by 35 miles long – and is responsible for just four percent of California’s wine production. Black Stallion’s wines take advantage of the different flavor profiles of Cabernets across sub-AVAs, by making both appellation-specific wines and blends that draw on fruit from vineyards ranging from the high-elevation Howell and Diamond Mountains, spanning across the valley floor of Oakville and Rutherford, stretching to the mountainous and rocky terrain of Atlas Peak and Mount Veeder, to the winery’s home appellation of the Oak Knoll District and traversing south to the cool, windy climate of Los Carneros.

Napa Valley is home to 16 different wine growing regions, or appellations, and Cabernet expresses itself differently in each one.”

Ralf Holdenried

To create wines that express the best of Napa Valley Cabernet, in all of its myriad expressions, Holdenried draws on more than two decades of creating award-winning wines in both California and his native Germany. In the creation of his wines, Ralf both ferments and ages the individual vineyards’ grapes separately, allowing the unique profiles to fully develop. The key to Ralf’s unique Cabernets is the blending together of different characteristics from each vineyard, resulting in wines of incredible depth.

The Cabernets of Black Stallion Winery gain widespread recognition amongst critics and top-industry publications, with the winery’s flagship wine, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, receiving ten consecutive 90+ scores from Wine Enthusiast and James Suckling on vintages 2009 – 2018. The winery’s Transcendent Cabernet Sauvignon, a top-tier luxury Cabernet, has been awarded seven consecutive 92+ scores from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Advocate on vintages 2010 – 2016, as well as a 97pt rating on the 2018 vintage from Tasting Panel Magazine.

An image of a winery at sunset
Image courtesy Black Stallion

For your next winter dinner party, explore pairing a rich Cabernet with each course. Begin with hard cheeses such as Gouda or aged cheddar artfully arranged on a cheese board with charcuterie. The protein in the cheese cuts Cabernet’s tannins beautifully and elevates the wine’s deep fruit flavors. The big, bold tannins of Black Stallion’s Transcendent Cabernet are delicious with a juicy, salty grilled ribeye steak with gorgonzola butter and fingerling potatoes. For an after-dinner dessert splurge, a chef’s souffle made of bittersweet chocolate topped with dark-chocolate shavings is a decadently scrumptious pairing with the strawberry and raspberry flavors of Black Stallion’s Limited Release Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

A special night out is one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday season, and a Napa Valley Cabernet is the embodiment of the right wine for the right occasion. The wines of Black Stallion Estate are quintessential Napa Valley Cabs, reflecting the wide range of each growing region within the Valley. Mixed with expert winemaking and a beautiful estate in the Oak Knoll District, the goal always remains the same for Black Stallion: to create harmonious wines that capture the best expression of varietal and vintage in Napa Valley.

*This story was produced by DiningOut as branded content for Black Stallion.


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