This wine was grown in the famed Student Vineyard at Napa Valley College, perhaps the most lovingly and intensely cared for vineyard in the entire Napa Valley. Clone 337, when grown in the long ripening period near San Pablo Bay, expresses massive structure, profound color and intense dark fruit aromatics. Picked at the peak of phenolic ripeness, these small berries yield tiny volumes of intensely tannic juice packed with black fruit aromas. Crucible’s profound essence of rich blueberries is a typical expression of the Coombsville district surrounding Napa town.
Dr. Stephen Krebs, Dean of Viticulture and Winery Technology, Napa Valley College, who grew the grapes, had this to say: "The 2005 Crucible is a true revelation. I am totally stunned and nearly speechless in awe of this wine. It is certainly among the very best California Cabernet Sauvignons I have ever tasted. The closest comparison I can conjure is that it reminds me of a tasting of a flight of all of the 2005 (I think) first growth Bordeaux that I participated in a few years ago. With those wines, you felt like getting down on one knee and bowing your head in reverence and I'm getting the same sense with this one. Wow!"
Though possessing almost impossible density, its real allure is its regally understated aromatics which drag you into the glass, together with the refinement with which it carries its massive tannins. Its soulful “come hither” derives from the weight and finesse of its tannins, which serve to integrate its aromatics into a resonant “single voice.”
No new oak was used. The enormous dimensions of this pure Cabernet Sauvignon enabled 42 months in élevage in neutral cooperage to develop its complex flavors, which should gain depth for several decades. This wine embodies many of Clark's version of postmodern principles, including European style, graceful longevity, aromatic integration through refined structure, IBM (Integrated Brettanomyces Management), and regional terroir expression.