Big and rich, with mouth-filling ripe red and black mountain and benchland fruits accented with black tea, cassis, black licorice, a touch of fennel, black olive and sweet blueberry fruit leather. Hints of cedar cigar box and tobacco sit alongside chalky tannins. More structured than Vintage 2015, Cinq Cépages is rewarding today and will reveal complex layers of flavor with proper cellaring.
The 2016 Cinq Cépages (“Five Varieties”) is a blend of the classic Bordeaux grapes consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), Merlot (11%), Cabernet Franc (6%), Malbec (2%), and Petit Verdot (1%). All five varietal components are used each vintage to create the stylized blend that is Cinq Cépages. Before blending, each component is aged separately for 20 months in 100% French oak, 49% new. Once the components are assembled, the blend spends almost an entire additional year in the bottle before release.
Cinq Cépages is the flagship wine of Chateau St. Jean. Each year, Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren selects fruit from outstanding and proven Bordeaux varietal vineyards to craft a wine that showcases the very best of Sonoma County. The primary grape sources for the 2016 vintage are from some of the finest appellations throughout Sonoma County.
Knights Valley (33%) fruit highlights boysenberry flavors and elegant tannins. From Moon Mountain (20%) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Monte Rosso vineyard adds structure, alongside selections from Sonoma Valley (20%), including the St. Jean Estate Vineyard, Cassata and Mountain Terraces vineyards. The Louvau vineyard in Dry Creek (12%) offers Merlot with lush juiciness and texture, while the Stuhlmuller Vineyard in Alexander Valley (6%) brings savory herbs and bright berry flavors.
The extended drought caused concern as the 2016 growing season began, but welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January significant rainfall arrived in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter vintage of 2015, and the extended mild season helped balance the acids and add complexity to the fruit.