Mascot Cabernet 2019
Mascot Cabernet 2019
Each of the three “parent” properties contributes components to The Mascot, and the winemaking teams - led by Cory Empting, Director of Winegrowing for the family domain - work collaboratively to weave together the final blend.
Depending on the vintage, The Mascot is composed of 85-95% Cabernet Sauvignon, along with small quantities of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
The Mascot is crafted from the younger vines of the three parent properties. Within the Napa Valley, hillside vineyards make up a miniscule percentage of planted acreage. The Harlan family has spent the past 40 years identifying the very finest and rarest of these sites.
The vines that contribute to The Mascot average from 5 to 12 years of age. As the vines of the parent properties are replanted approximately twice per century—or the equivalent of around 2% of acreage per year—the supply of young vines is continually replenished. Many young vines are beginning to manifest now; as a result of replanting at Harlan Estate and BOND starting more than a decade ago, and at Promontory since it was acquired in 2008.
In this process, vines are pulled and replanted with a cover crop that supports the soil ecosystem—all without tilling. This ensures that conditions found in the mature vineyard are maintained, allowing continuity between the "generations" of plantings. In this way, when young vines begin to root, they can connect to a much wiser, well-structured network of microorganism and nutrient pathways.
Waiting three years for rootstocks to establish themselves before grafting allows the plant to focus on root-growth during this critical stage. Although this delays production by a few years, when the vines finally do produce a crop, the fruit has a superior balance of tannin and acidity. The focus on cultivating the root system has also allowed us to begin dry farming very early in the vine’s lifecycle, which gives our wine greater purity and distinction.
The vineyard teams farm each plot of land in a highly individualized manner through a program called the "Vine Masters.” Over the course of a five to ten year apprenticeship, these team members earn the right to oversee a portion of the vineyard for which they are solely responsible. The Vine Masters tend to these blocks as their own personal gardens, treating each plant independently, allowing each vine to reach its greatest potential for quality, character, and longevity.
The winemaking teams vinify the grapes from each property in accordance with the character of their land. For aging the wines, Harlan Estate and BOND use new and neutral French oak barrels, while Promontory employs larger casks made of Austrian oak.
The winemaking teams evaluate the young-vine lots at the blending table between 6 and 14 months after fermentation, selecting the finest for inclusion in The Mascot. In total, The Mascot is aged in barrel for nearly three years prior to bottling and another 18 months in bottle prior to release.