The Tamber Bey label derives most its fruit from two privately owned vineyards, the Tamber Bey and Deux Chevaux vineyards, both located in the middle of Napa Valley near the town of Yountville. Although the two properties lay a mere one-half mile from each other, they are as different as dusk and dawn due to the unique microclimates created by their proximity to Yount Hill - just north of the town of Yountville.
The Tamber Bey Estate Vineyard consists of 11 acres located at the southern end of Napa Valley's famous Oakville appellation, just north of Yountville. It has gravel/loam soils that are relatively shallow and well-suited to Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The site enjoys early morning fog and late afternoon breezes that are influenced by San Francisco Bay to the south. To encourage competition for sun, water and nutrients, Tamber Bey planted over 9,000 vines in a tight planting formation on the estate.
The Deux Chevaux Vineyard is a 60-acre parcel situated east of the town of Yountville and in the Yountville appellation. There are two waterways on either side of the vineyard, one being the Napa River. This vineyard is planted with Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Chardonnay. This vineyard is influenced to a greater degree by the San Francisco Bay and the early morning fog and late afternoon winds that it generates.
Starting in 2012 Tamber Bey began sourcing fruit from outside vineyards. After an exhaustive search in Napa and Sonoma vineyards, three vineyards were selected for their excellent terrior and relationship to the selected fruit. In Yountville, we sourced a Dijon Chardonnay from the Trio Vineyard, located on the western floor south of the Town of Yountville. Going a bit north we sourced what we think is some of the best Sauvignon Blanc from the red rocked Tench Vineyard in the Oakville Appellation. Lastly, we will be introducing in eariy 2014 a Pinot Noir from the famed Sun Chase Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast Appellation.
Every varietal has an ideal ripening zone, a region where it can consistently produce a balanced wine with pure, accurate varietal character. One of the world's best ripening zones for Cabernet is the Napa Valley. But not all of Napa Valley is suitable for Cabernet. In fact, Napa's Cabernet's ripening zone runs only from Yountville/Oakville in the south to Calistoga in the north. The wines from the warmer northern section of this zone typically emphasize power; those from the cooler, southern end of the zone accentuate balance and finesse.
Tamber Bey's Estate Vineyard and Deux Chevaux Vineyard are set at the southern end of Napa's Cabernet ripening zone. Located respectively in the Oakville and Yountville appellations, both vineyards experience the early morning fog and cool afternoon breezes off San Francisco Bay that help extend the growing season well into October. The region's unusual microclimate gives the wines an elegance that allows the geology of the site to show through without interference from overripe flavors. In addition to Tamber Bey's wines possessing all the body and lushness one would expect from the Napa Valley, they are also graceful enough to convey the unique minerality and topography of both vineyard sites.
Farming & Winemaking
Great wine can only come from great fruit. To guarantee that Tamber Bey's vineyards are performing at peak levels, Winemaker Frederic Delivert and Consulting Winemaker Thomas Brown work closely with viticulturist Josh Clark. Their intensive farming regime entails stresses each vineyard to the point of near collapse. Early season deficit irrigation reduces berry size, controls vigor and increases flavor intensity. Extensive thinning, dropping substantial amounts of fruit, promotes even ripening and balance. The influence of the cool maritime breezes allows the fruit to remain longer on the vines before harvesting.