In crafting the 2010 B Side Napa Valley Red Wine Blend, winemaker Greg Kitchens used five different varietals from over seven sub-appellations. The wine opens with a heady bouquet of black cherries, dried plums, blackberries and peat moss. One's first sip is greeted by a flavorful cacophony of black currants, dried blueberries, and Blackstrap molasses with hints of black pepper and toasted coconut emerging on the finish. This full-bodied wine is lush and rich with finely integrated tannins, yet it also shows impeccable balance. If Cabernet Sauvignon represents the "A" side of Napa Valley, then this artfully blended wine demonstrates just how great the "B" side can be.
Bordered by two mountain ranges, the valley stretches approximately 30 miles North to South, one mile East to West at its narrow Northern end and five miles at its widest point near the town of Napa. Its maritime climate—warm days and cool nights—coupled with deep yet not excessively fertile soils makes it ideally suited for the cultivation of premium grapes. The first grapes were planted here in 1838, and today Napa accounts for 4% of California's total wine production, focusing primarily on the top-end of the wine market.
The 2010 vintage proved to be a challenging one for growers. A wet winter and spring continued well into June, delaying bloom and disrupting fruit set. Vineyard managers worked to ensure ripening by thinning leaves and crops to get more sun exposure, but that strategy backfired for some when a late August heat spike hit the valley desiccating the exposed fruit in some areas. The wines emerging from this vintage are characterized by their elegance—slightly higher acidity, dark colors, and generally lower alcohol levels.
B Side Cabernet Sauvignon tells the story of the flip-side of Napa Valley. Nestled in rural areas and rolling hills along the eastern edge of the Valley, these vineyards are just a few miles from the glamorous, high-priced wineries featured along Highway 29. The eastern side of Napa Valley includes areas such as Pope Valley, Chiles Valley, Wooden Valley, Stags Leap District and lower Calistoga. Vines in these areas are grown in thin volcanic soils, which yield smaller, more concentrated fruit, producing Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignons with classic berry and cassis flavor.