Gabrielle Collection

About

Gabrielle Collection is a series of boutique, luxury Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons and Proprietary Cabernet blends, that are invitingly and food complementary wines. They show the artistry of Winemaker Gabrielle in their balance, suppleness and distinction as she brings the magic of the soil and sun into a glass of wine.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Napa valley, California.

Features

  • An Artistic Expression of Cabernet Sauvignon Handcrafted by Gabrielle.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Winemaker

Gabrielle Leonhard was born in Germany, to a family with a long history of wine professionals and collectors. Her grandfather traveled the world exploring food and wines as a wine and food critic. Her mother was a wine chemist in Bordeaux, a food chemist and completed cooking school with a chef from the esteemed Cordon Blue Cooking School in France. A passion for quality ingredients and food preparation was a family heritage. Food and wine pairings were an ongoing topic at the family table. Gabrielle always dreamed of making wine.

Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program, sensory evaluation and olive oil sensory evaluation.

The Team

Wayne O’Connell
Winemaking Team

Wayne heads the production and harvest activities and is part of the blending team. He finds wonderful vineyard fruit sources and assures that fruit for Gabrielle Collection wines is top quality. He worked for his grandfather in the vineyard and cellar growing up and learned old world winemaking methods first hand.

Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program.

Kyle Laird
Consulting Winemaker

Kyle stresses harvest practices of selective picking: multiple passes to pluck fruit only at its optimum. He works closely with the vineyard crews to gently coax the flavors from the soil. Kyle is responsible for all the technical aspects of winemaking: picking decisions, fermentation, barrel selection, blending trials, bottling.

A native of Napa Valley, Kyle previously worked at San Clement Winery and Robert Craig Winery as Assistant Winemaker, producing several vintages of highly rated Cabernets. He manages the production of high-end boutique wines at the custom Crush facility, Bin to Bottle.

Viticulture: Wine is made in the vineyard. Everyone at Gabrielle Collection is dedicated to this principle.

Patrick Riggs
Viticulturist

Patrick Riggs, Jack Neal and Son’s lead Viticulturist and Head of Organic Farming, is the consulting vineyard manager of the estate vineyard. In collaboration with Wayne & Gabrielle, he oversees vine health and quality and implements strategies to keep the vineyards free from damaging pests and disease. Every year, we meet to make farming practice decisions with the goal of producing top grape quality that expresses the unique soil properties of the estate vineyard. Each vine is treated individually in regard to water; fertilizer and pest management needs, always focusing on organic and sustainable practices. Patrick earned a BA at the University of Wisconsin, Soil Science and Bacteriology and Masters degree in Plant Pathology from U.C. Davis.

Practices & Techniques

Gabrielle believes blending varietals and vineyards achieves the most expressive wine. Drawing from the organically farmed estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll Appellation as well as other from select sustainably farmed vineyards, where the climate and soil are best suited to produce each varietal perfectly, she creates wines with richness and complexity.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Five specific blocks with individual soil structures and climatic subtleties enables the winemaking team to beautifully balance the aromas, flavors and structure of each Gabrielle wine. The vineyard was created over millennium by the layers of forces: Dry Creek ancient creek bed, frequent flooding, volcanic action from the Vaca mountains, alluvial soil erosion from Mt Veeder, San Francisco Bay ocean bottom. Each grape block has specific influences and encounter variables as the grapes penetrate the soil.

THE APPELATION
Oak Knoll District Appellation, Napa Valley

Located at the southern end of Napa valley about 5 miles from the San Francisco Bay, it enjoys the cool breezes of the San Francisco Bay, assuring long slow ripening and beautiful acidity, creating fruity of elegance and balance.

TERROIR

Climate: The vineyard enjoys cool fog in the evening hours through early morning. The summer days average in the upper 80’s, allowing perfect ripening of the seeds and skins- a key attribute of beautiful, expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. Harvest is usually in October, allowing a low ripening period, resulting in finely grained and integrated tannins.

Soil: The diverse soil results from the convergence of Mt Veeder alluvial soils, Dry Creek gravel & loam deposits, ancient ocean bottom and decomposed volcanic soil.

“I knew something special was going on beneath the ground of our estate gardens. When planting large trees and shrubs they often languished for a few years before they had a huge growth spurt. When we excavated a 20’ deep drainage trench, we discovered alternating striates of gravel, 12” cobble and loam. Now I understood- the roots had to forge through this complex structure. But when they did they, they flourished!

And so was with our vineyard. The result: very small concentrated fruit growing next to vigorously vines. They each demanded their own water, pruning and fruit management program. But this offers us excitingly varied grape flavors, which you will discover in our unique wine.” -Gabrielle

BLOCK UNIQUENESS

Each block has had its own geological history, which provides distinctive flavors. As the roots of the vines forge deep into the earth, their individuality becomes more pronounced.

Apple Block
Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 337

When the vineyard was developed, Gabrielle insisted on saving the heritage apple tree. She strongly believes in bio-diversity of the vineyard environment and this tree provided shade and sweet treats to the horses living in the former corral surrounding the apple tree. It still produces delicious apples and is a beautiful accent to the adjoining vineyard.

The Apple Block has gravely soil due to its proximity to Dry Creek. Fine gravel continuously washes to the surface and its soil does not have great moisture retention. Those qualities create very concentrated fruit that resulting in a richly textured wine. When visiting the vineyard, our guests observe that the canes are much smaller in diameter than the Olive Block only 15 feet across the driveway- a result of less rich soil, less water available to the roots and challenging navigation through dense layers of river cobble. The Apple Block is managed to lower fruit volume to not overstress the vines and extract maximum flavors. This vineyard ripens 1-2 weeks later than the neighboring Olive Block, so hand harvesting must be done in phases, each determined by the block’s ripening schedule. Harvest is dictated by its unique soil structure.

Olive Block
Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 337

Historic Mission olive trees are the namesakes of the Olive Block. Gabrielle propagated the trees herself from the last known original Mission Olive Grove (1797) located near Santa Barbara, California, that she discovered while researching California Olive history for her book, The Ultimate Guide to American Olive Oil.

The canes of the vines in the Olive Block are almost double the size of the Apple block, as the soil has more loam, less gravel and more water retention. This block was the edge of the ancient creek bed and had rich soil deposits. In average rainfall years, minimal or no irrigation is required by the vines to remain vigorous. The vines like to carry more fruit and be harvested earlier producing a wine that is sensuous and mouth filling.

French Gate Block
Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 337

An elegant antique French Gate opens to reveal a complex vineyard. A result of a mix of gravel from long gone small streams, volcanic sub soil structure and a thin layer of loam, these vines must be treated as individuals- a specialized drip system imparts water only to some, vines are fertilized with compost in accordance with their requirements. They are pampered! The end result is a firmly structured wine with beautifully complex flavors.

Creek Block
Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 11 & 7

Dry Creek winds around this block and still floods about every 10 years. Sine the vines are dormant, this does not impact the vines. But it is a big cleanup job. As a teen, Preston O’Connell dog a 15’ deep trench to build a fort in the middle of what was then a field of grasses and wild flowers. He uncovered a finely structured layer cake of rich loam, sand and gravel alternating in 1-3” layers. He uncovered the history of the soil, which determined the clones and rootstock selection perfectly suited to these conditions and subsequent vineyard management practices.

Petit Verdot Block

Along 200’ tall Eucalyptus trees, and a field of lavender, tightly spaced Petit Verdot grows, a small lot production that is a powerful component to the vineyard blend.

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Address

Napa Valley, California
United States

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