SPRING 2017
Houyi Vineyard
Named after the archer who shot down the sunbirds, HOUYI Vineyard is the pulse of NINE SUNS as well as a few like-minded partners interested in creating their own unique expressions of this Pritchard Hill terroir.
LOCATION
The Pritchard Hill area, a high altitude sub-region east of Oakville, features an exciting mix of established and young wineries that continue to gain momentum in defining a sense of place in Napa Valley. At nearly 1,400 feet above sea level on southward sloping acreage, HOUYI VINEYARD sits above the fog, basking in the morning sunshine.
SOIL
The red volcanic soil is exceptionally rocky, making vineyard development and farming extremely difficult. However, the efforts are well worth it, as the well drained soils provide an environment for the vines to produce incredibly concentrated fruit.
VARIETALS
HOUYI Vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, as well as a few small blocks of Grenache and Syrah, totaling 22 acres.
Vine to Wine
Most of the work and decision making that goes into creating an exceptional wine is done in the vineyard, and we take great pride in our farming. Led by one of David Abreu's experienced crew, we strive to provide our vintners the tools and resources they require in the vineyard to best achieve their desired expression of this site. We are thankful to have the opportunity to work with the following vintners, and consider them partners in pursuit of excellence.
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2014 Houyi Vineyard Cabernet

From Pritchard Hill, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Houyi Vineyard is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the iron-rich, red soils of that famous hill above the Oakville crossroads. There are 425 cases of this wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon clones 4, 7 and 337. Houyi Vineyard, owned by the Changs, is in a neighborhood of superstars, including Brand, David Arthur and Colgin. Well above the fog-line, this area gets very warm days with plenty of UV sunshine and cool nights, which give this wine great acidity to go along with its stunning display of chocolaty, blackcurrant fruit intermixed with blackberry, graphite and forest floor. There are some spring flowers as well. A full-bodied, stunning wine, very much in the Realm style, it should drink well for 20+ years.

2013 Houyi Vineyard Cabernet

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Houyi Vineyard is another 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this one from Pritchard Hill. Made from clone 337, the wine is again brilliant. Its blueberry and blackberry fruit are obvious, and the wine also shows some violets along with charcoal and some subtle background oak. The fruit is sweet, the tannins velvety, and the wine voluptuous, opulent and approachable now, although it probably won't hit its peak for at least another 4-5 years and keep for 25 or more.

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2014 Stones No. 2

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Stones No. 2 is from the Houyi Vineyard on Pritchard Hill at an elevation of 1,600+ feet. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from clone 4, aged 20 months in 100% new French oak, and looked after by none other than Frenchman Philippe Melka. This is a gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon. Black as a moonless night, with notes of blueberry liqueur interwoven with white flowers, crushed rock, blackberries, white chocolate and a touch of toast, it is opulent and fleshy, with fabulous fruit, thickness and juiciness that give it its succulent style. Drink it over the next 20 years.

2013 Stones No. 2

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Stones No. 2 comes from Houyi Vineyard and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from clone 4. This is another near-perfect effort from winemaker Philippe Melka and the Fairchild team. Beautiful, sweet blueberry, blackberry and cassis fruit intermixed with floral notes, earthy soil undertones and forest floor notes are all present in this complex wine, which sports a full-bodied, mega-concentrated mouthfeel, but has no sense of heaviness or awkwardness. Drink it over the next 30+ years.

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2012 Knockmore

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill - Knockmore comes from a small parcel on Pritchard Hill directly across the street from Ovid and backed up to the well-known Colgin IX Estate Vineyard. As Jeff Ames says, this is "a fantastic neighborhood." The wine, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, was also bottled unfined and unfiltered after 18 months in about 70% new French oak. This is another small cuvée of only about 100 cases. Fabulous flavors of black raspberries, blackcurrants and spring flowers jump from the glass of this wine, which seems to be a characteristic of many of the same wines in the neighborhood. Deep ruby/purple in color, it's sexy, opulent, lush and much in keeping with the 2012 style. This multi-dimensional, layered, velvety textured wine is loaded. There's not a hard edge to it, and the impression is one of extravagance and lavish, rich fruit. It's already showing burgeoning complexity and should continue to develop even more fragrance and compelling attributes over the next 15-20 years. This is a beauty.

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2012 NINE SUNS

The 2012 Proprietary Red (500 cases of a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and the rest Malbec and Cabernet Franc) is an absolutely profound wine. Aged in 100% new oak, which you would never know, this sexy beast of a wine offers up an opaque bluish purple color and gorgeous notes of spring flowers, blueberries, crème de cassis, licorice and graphite. The wine is bold, exuberant, lavishly rich, layered and irresistible. This is a beauty to drink now and over the next 20-25 years.