Trefethen Family Vineyards
2010 Dragon's Tooth Napa Valley Red Wine
California: Oak Knoll District (Napa)
There be dragons!
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Today’s spectacular 2010 Trefethen Family Vineyards Dragon’s Tooth Red Blend is a very structured and bold wine with intriguing flavors, deep aromatics and a mouth-filling exuberance that reflects the name of the wine.
This big, delicious blend of 58% Malbec, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot is best enjoyed after some decanting or hearty swirling. As the wine breathes, it begins to take on added dimension, revealing more delicious fruit than was found on opening.
Enjoy now, but please be sure to get enough to lay a few bottles down - for the next decade or longer. This built-to-age wine will only continue to get even better.
Slightly opaque and dark violet at the core.
Exotic and bold with dark fruit that intermingles with a rustic backwoods aroma. Licorice, violet, baking spice, molasses, blackberry and black currant reduction round out the aromas.
Dark and rustic, with bold black fruit, black tea, geranium, dried black cherry, dried blueberry, tobacco, and leather, with hints of dried mission fig, black pepper and slate.
Balanced and very structured with flavors that tail off very gradually as the bold, structured tannins in the wine dissipate. Toasty oak and toasty vanilla persist.
The wine begs to be paired with something big. We’ll be enjoying ours with a perfectly seared New York steak with green peppercorn.
What the Winery Says
THE RED DRAGON on the label of our Dragon’s Tooth Napa Valley Red Wine originated in ancient British legend where two dragons—one red, one white—fight in the sky. The boy Merlin watches them with King Vortigern and when the red prevails, driving the white across the sea, the boy foretells the coming of King Arthur who will lead Vortigern’s people, the Welsh, to victory over the invading Saxons.
CATHERINE TREFETHEN, our First Lady, was Welsh. Her loves for wine, gardens and family were the inspiration for our estate in Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District, and though she has departed, her spirit is still felt, especially in the cool foggy mornings when mist envelops the vineyard and our minds tend towards whimsical imaginings.
HIGHLIGHTING our new plantings of Malbec and Petit Verdot, this 100% Estate wine is born in the rockiest part of our vineyard where obsidian flakes occasionally remind us of the toothy smile of Y Ddraig Goch (The Red Dragon) guardian and symbol of Wales.
THE VINTAGE The vines got off to a slow start as April and May were both cooler and wetter than average. The cool trend continued into the mild summer and a full growing season that was our coolest since 1978. The exception was one notable heat spell in late August, when temperatures soared to over 111° F! Fortunately, September and October brought enough warm days to provide a beautiful finish to the growing season, allowing us to complete harvest a full week earlier than in 2009.
THE WINE This unique blend shines with vibrant aromas of boysenberry, cassis and baking spice. Nutmeg and toasty oak flavors segue into a long, chocolate-y finish that would disarm the fiercest of dragons. Malbec brings a diversity of fruit to the palate along with vibrant color; Petit Verdot contributes tannin; and Cabernet Sauvignon lends darker fruit and structure.
FOOD AFFINITIES Grilled steak, roasted lamb or duck breast are our favorite pairs with Dragon’s Tooth. The wine also shines with dark fruit reduction sauces.
ACCOLADES 93 POINTS (v. 2009) Wine Enthusiast March 2013
94 POINTS (v. 2008) Wine Enthusiast
90 POINTS (v. 2007) Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
About the Winery
In the late 60’s when the Trefethen family started to grow wine grapes in Napa Valley, there was no one to show them the way. There was plenty of advice, to be sure, but in truth no one had started a successful Napa vineyard since Prohibition. They were, in a word, crazy.
Their lunacy was infectious, however, and a few other enterprising souls joined the gambit. A shared passion brought them, and they settled into their respective posts as equals in a shared endeavor.
The land focuses our energies, as it always has, challenging us to understand its soils, the vines that grow in them, and the way fog drifts through the rows in the morning. It is an eternal learning process – each question answered reveals another to be asked – but it’s a journey we love to take with each and every vintage. It also defines us and the wines we make, providing the vital essence of every bottle that bears our name.
Winemaker Bryan Kays
Bryan earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and then, like any self-respecting English major, turned to wine as a career. For several years, he worked for a small winery in the Sierra Foothills and then earned a Viticulture and Enology degree at UC Davis before joining Trefethen in 2006 as a viticulture intern.
Fascinated with estate-grown wines, Bryan worked his way into the cellar, up to the position of Assistant Winemaker in 2008 and assumed the role of Winemaker in 2015. His passion is creating balanced, true-to-type wines that embody his conviction that winemaking is as much about restraint as action.
As one of Napa Valley’s few remaining family wine estates, Trefethen Vineyards has never purchased a single outside grape. Located in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, our estate vineyard is nestled in a verdant landscape of vines at the cooler, southern end of Napa Valley.
The vineyard has been segmented into five dozen different “gardens”, delineated by variety, soil type, trellising system and irrigation regimen. We lavish extreme attention on each block, extrapolating ideal pruning, shoot positioning, leaf removal, cluster thinning and irrigation practices from the needs of each vine.
Trefethen farms 63 distinct vineyard blocks, encompassing nine different grape varieties (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Viognier), 10 different types of rootstock, and 49 different clones (genetic variations of a grape variety), including 13 of Chardonnay and 10 of Cabernet Sauvignon.
This degree of specialization and intense focus on individual blocks maximizes the potential of each of our varieties and creates the foundation for producing consistently superb, world-class wines.
Sustainable Farming Practices
Our passion extends beyond the wines themselves to the place we live and work. Our family is strongly committed to being good stewards of the land, responsible neighbors and enlightened employers. To make great wine, you have to have great grapes. We firmly believe that the only way to do this is by keeping our vineyards healthy and thriving, which is why we practice sustainable farming.
Our practices include: Using soy-based biodiesel fuels, recycling all winery wastewater for irrigation, deficit irrigation techniques, sustainable weed removal methods, pomace composting, natural pest control and solar energy.
An Historic Winery
Constructed in 1886 by a Scottish sea captain, Hamden McIntyre, our winery was originally known as Eshcol. McIntyre designed it as a gravity-flow system: a horse-drawn winch brought grapes to the third floor of the three-story structure for crushing; gravity carried the juice to the second floor for fermenting; and, eventually, the wine descended to the first floor for aging. Eshcol was among a number of wineries McIntyre designed during this period; the others were Greystone (now The Culinary Institute of America), Far Niente and Inglenook.
When the Trefethen family purchased the property in 1968, the winery had fallen into serious disrepair. They carefully researched the winery’s past and worked for years to restore it. Aside from replacing the dirt floor on the first level with concrete, they made no significant structural changes.
The Trefethens’ restoration efforts were recognized in 1988 by the Department of the Interior, which placed the winery on the National Register of Historic Places as the only 19th-century, wooden, gravity-flow winery surviving in Napa County.
Today, Trefethen boasts a state-of-the-art fermentation facility and 13,000 square foot barrel cellar, but the McIntyre Building remains integral to the winery’s operations.