Aurora Vineyard is nestled in a small valley midway up Diamond Mountain on a large knoll located at an elevation of 1,200 feet. The knoll projects off the mountainside, giving the vineyard full Southern exposure and open light from the East and West and protection from Napa Valley’s summer fog. Six acres of the vineyard are planted in the knoll’s rich, volcanic soils that are riddled with basalt cobble in a loamy red clay. The remaining six acres are planted in a deep gravely mix of white volcanic ash and chips of decomposed Rhyolite that were washed down from the steep, rocky crags of Diamond Mountain.
Winemaker Martha McClellan made the wines at Harlan Estate from 1995 through 2000 with her winemaking husband Bob Levy. In 2001 she took over the winemaking and vineyard direction at Sloan Estate, a well-renowned Napa Valley winery located in the hills of Rutherford, where she continues to make the wines today. In 2006 she also became the winemaker at Checkerboard Vineyards where she made the first vintage from the Aurora Vineyard site. With her husband she also makes Levy-McClellan.
Checkerboard 2016 “Aurora” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
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Winemaker Martha McClellan Notes: “There’s a fresh, sweet aroma to the 2016 Checkerboard Aurora Vineyard that builds excitement and anticipation for what’s to come. On approach, the palate is juicy and expansive and explodes with flavors of blackberry, mulberry, dark cherry, caramel, leaf tobacco, and green olive. The wine continues with a voluptuousness that’s linear and constant yet lifted by natural acidity. The finish is showy, long and lingering with finely polished tannins. An exceptional vintage.”
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