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Napa's Cade Is as Green as It Gets

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Sep 23, 2008 3:27pm ET

Cade is cutting edge green and beyond.

The winery on Howell Mountain was built to reflect the rugged masculine feel of the terrain, resting on a steep rocky slope surrounding by towering trees. "Cade" is a Shakespearean reference to a cask or barrel.

As general manager John Conover explained in this video clip, Cade is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, which means the winery has an environmentally sustainable design.

The winery is mostly concrete (with a special concrete mix made from recycled materials), steel and glass, with little wood.

The steel, for example, is recycled. There are solar panels. The wall insulation is from recycled jeans and the barrels for the winery’s Cabernets are aged in caves built into the hillside. It’s “green luxury,” said Conover, including showers for those who peddle their bikes up the steep mountain road to work.

The $16 million, 15,000-square-foot winery, designed by Carlos Fernandez of Lail Design Group in St. Helena, and built by Grassi & Associates, of Napa, is a sister to Plumpjack winery. The wines, Sauvignon Blanc and a trio of Cabernets, are all excellent, with Anthony Biagi overseeing winemaking.

I tried the flinty 2007 Sauvignon and all three 2006 reds. The Cade Napa Cuvée ($60, 2,500 cases) comes from grapes grown at To Kalon, Dr. Crane, Kenefick and Ink Grade vineyards; it’s intense and structured, with dried currant and sandalwood flavors. The Howell Mountain bottling ($74, 1,500 cases), from the Outpost and Tru vineyards, is denser and very concentrated, yet avoids being overly tannic and tasted rather elegant. The estate Howell Mountain ($NA, 300 cases) has a minty edge, yet is intense, vibrant and elegant and tasting young. It has 16 percent Merlot, with hints of minerality, lively acidity and fine-grained tannins, worth looking for as they come to market in coming months.

The winery is beautiful if utilitarian, nestled into the hillside at the 1,600-foot elevation and super "green." It's likely an indicator of what lies ahead with winery design.

Pierre Lemieux
September 23, 2008 10:10pm ET
What about Frog's Leap LEED certified years ago?
John W Dunn
Dyer In —  September 24, 2008 8:39am ET
Hello, I know this is not appropiate for this blog, but I'm hoping you can forward it. My basement recently flooded and about 800 bottles of wine were underwater for 36 - 48 hours. I intend to rinse the bottles in a light bleach solution but I don't know what to do about the foil on the bottles. There is moisture underneath this foil. Should I just remove it?
James Laube
Napa, CA —  September 24, 2008 9:09am ET
John, your wines should be fine since cork (ideally) is a perfect seal which doesn't allow any transfer of air or water. Just rinse the bottles and avoid bleach. Wouldn't hurt to remove the foils and it's always a good idea to open a bottle or two to reassure yourself that everything's fine. Some of the best bottles of old wines come from shipwrecks!
David Peters
Mission Viejo, CA —  September 24, 2008 1:13pm ET
James, I know this is off-subject, but since you're the WS go-to guy for Napa reds, when can we expect a final vintage rating for 2005 & 06 Napa & Sonoma cabernets ?
James Laube
Napa, CA —  September 24, 2008 4:09pm ET
It's been updated for the Cabernet issue, which is Nov. 15. It's an outstanding year for Napa Valley.
John Wilen
Texas —  September 24, 2008 6:24pm ET
JL, will the review for this wine finally be released on November 15? Back in June you wrote:

Then there¿s Markham 2004 Napa Valley ($30, 4,000 cases made). Supple, graceful and from a great vintage, this is the kind of wine you should consider buying by the case. It¿s complex and drinks easy and is very well-proportioned. Complete reviews with scores and notes will be coming soon.
Jason Gullion
September 25, 2008 2:10pm ET
Hi James,Forgive another off-topic question, but I was just exploring the advanced search option here on the Web site and was very surprised to discover zero 100-point (and only three 99-point) wines when I did a search of all wine types/all vintages/United States. Is it possible that the US has never produced a 100-point wine? And if so, how would you interpret such a fact? Love to hear your thoughts on the subject of perfection.

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