The Larkmead Vineyard - From a Winemaking Perspective
The Larkmead estate is made up of three contiguous vineyard parcels at one of the narrowest points in Napa Valley. The vineyard almost spans the entire breadth of the valley floor from Highway 29 to Silverado Trail with the Napa River dissecting it in half. This excites us from the winemaking perspective because it offers diversity in the soils due to centuries of alluvial flow. What we are left with today is a vineyard in three parts and four soil types - sand, silt, clay and gravel. These elements bring distinct character to our wines that elevate the diversity of the site.
In our "A" block which is planted predominantly to Cabernet we find the majority of our gravel soils which offer a bright, high-toned, "hillside" aromatic purity, acidity and tannin cut with classic Bordeaux flavors that have become signature Larkmead characteristics - cassis, menthol-mineral, dried herb, black tea and cedar with subtle amounts of graphite and licorice.
The "B" block, which surrounds the winery on three sides is Merlot dominant with Sauvignon Blanc planted outside the tasting room porches. These loam based soils produce broad and dense wines that maintain vibrant acidity. The quality of the Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc from this parcel of the vineyard is quite serious and produces profound wines. This portion of the vineyard ranks as one of the lowest yielding parts of the site; thus producing wines of great intensity and expression; but, unfortunately, of limited quantity.
Across the road and over the river, Larkmead's "C" block grows six of our seven grape varieties planted on the vineyard. Framed by two waterways the soils are the richest on the property. We love the wines from this section of the vineyard because they provide us with broad, mouth-filling appeal, pure fruit softness and sweet, elegant tannins.
From the ground up, we are fortunate to be able to work with such diverse natural resources from one vineyard site. From our perspective; there aren't many great vineyards that can offer that diversity. And it is our responsibility on a vintage to vintage basis to capture the nuances and complexities of the site in each and every bottle of wine.