One of California’s (perhaps the world’s) most flamboyant, talented, contrarian wine producers is Napa Valley’s Jayson Woodbridge, the owner of Hundred Acre winery. Woodbridge has been running in high gear since his debut 2000. His 100% Cabernet Sauvignons are made primarily by him, with some consulting advice from Philippe Melka. His first effort was from his home vineyard, Kayli Morgan, which is situated east of St. Helena. That offering was followed by a Cabernet from the 15 acre Ark Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Woodbridge recently purchased a tiny, well-situated hillside parcel above the Eisele Vineyard, southeast of Calistoga. His special projects include the Cabernet Sauvignon Precious, a wine harvested grape by grape rather than bunch by bunch, and his Cabernet Sauvignon Deep Time, which sees extended oak aging (36-42 months). All things considered, this is an extraordinary group of wines.
Jayson Woodbridge’s vision of high quality Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is increasingly confirmed with each new vintage. His debut vintage, 2000, was not an easy year to launch a high end, luxury Cabernet Sauvignon, but it was so delicious upon release, that I couldn’t believe it would get much better. After having a taste of it in late October, I’m happy to say I was wrong. At nine years of age, the 2000 is doing great. All of these wines are 100% Cabernet Sauvignons, and all are aged in 100% new French oak in various sizes, from small barrels to 500-liter puncheons, and 600-liter demi-muids.
The flagship wine is from the home vineyard known as Kayli Morgan (just east of St. Helena). Woodbridge also has a 15-acre parcel on Howell Mountain, the Ark Vineyard, a new offering called Few and Far Between near the Eisele Vineyard southeast of Calistoga. Lastly, there is a limited cuvee called Deep Time where he is experimenting with small lots aged 36-50 months in oak. Woodbridge is irrefutably a contrarian, but he is the kind of person you want going against mainstream, conventional thoughts. His wines are among the most individualistic in California. Even with their lofty prices and limited availability, they merit support.