2011 Levy & McClellan Ampersand | St. Helena, Napa Valley - SOLD OUT

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  • In years that are deemed 'challenging', in order to select the ultimate barrels for the flagship blend,many phenomenal lots become destined for what we consider our ‘complementary’ blend, the AMPERSAND. We had an incredibly beautiful pallet from which we were able to blend the 2011 AMPERSAND and are excited by the outcome. We are delighted to be able to offer a wine of soft tannins, elegant balance and sweet charm. It is a blend to enjoy for its delicate finesse and a tribute to our dedication in presenting the highest quality wines possible in each and every vintage.

    • Maturity: 35-50 years
    • Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Production: 150 cases
    • Vineyard: Levy & McClellan Estate Vineyard
    • Vintage: 2011
    • Aging: 27 Months in New French Oak Barrels from 5 different Coopers
  • Levy & McClellan is the product of the Robert Levy and Martha McClellan, husband and wife team, who after years of practicing the skills of their shared passion for winemaking at other well known estates, united their individual experiences to an independent endeavor of their own. Robert Levy, the founding winemaker and director of vineyards for HARLAN ESTATE, Napa Valley California, has been there since it’s inception, 26 years ago.  His scope of talents now include both BOND Estates and The NAPA VALLEY RESERVE, where he oversees the production of wines from some of the greatest vineyard sites in Napa Valley. Martha McClellan worked making wines at Harlan Estate 1995 through 200. In 2001, she took over the winemaking and vineyard direction at SLOAN ESTATE, an esteemed Napa Valley winery and vineyards located in the hill of Rutherford, where she continues to make the wines today.  In 2006, she added CHECKERBOARD Vineyards to her portfolio and began making the wine for this hillside, estate property.  First planted in 1999 to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Verdot, the premier launch celebrated the 2007 vintage.

  • The philosophy for LEVY & McCLELLAN  is based on the same exciting standards and unyielding dedication that marks all of the wines they make.  The grapes come from their family owned vineyards nestled in the western foothill of Napa Valley.  Presently in its thirteenth season, the meticulous detail employed in the selection of the site, the planting and the Viticulture care, gives testament to their commitment as stewards of the land and to capturing and expressing to the fullest, the character and essence of this unique and diverse vineyard.
  • Growing Season
    For the second year in a row we had a solid wet winter and the rains continued into spring and in fact we had a bit of rain even as late as June. Bud beak, however, was normal, with most buds out by the end of the first week of April. With a cooler than normal spring and continued occasional moisture, the time from budbreak to bloom was longer than normal, averaging about 68 days (where normal runs closer to 50 days) reaching full bloom the first week of June. The trend for the season continued, as cooler weather prevailed and the time between Bloom and Veraison averaged about 82 days, putting veraison at the end of August. The one constant, even as summer weather stayed mild, with few days over 90 and most hovering between the high 70’s and 90 degrees. The typical phenological stages all took extended times from onset to completion, allowing for amazingly uniform and consistent ripening to occur. At times we find ourselves with only 175 to 185 days from budbreak to bloom, however, in 2011, we enjoyed the rare luxury of well over 200 days of growing season. It is for this reason we reflect back on what some consider to be a cool growing year, but we refer to as a blessing in the ability to achieve incredible ripeness at slightly lower brix levels with unbelievable development of flavor, color, seed maturity and supple skin tannins- velvety and plush. When we look at the challenges associated with getting ripe mature tannins in warm years and compare that with the accomplishments of 2011, we begin to understand the focus of our colleagues who grow Bordeaux varieties regularly in cooler growing conditions than our norm. It seems that we both strive for a similar end point- in other words, ripe flavors and ripe tannins that are soft rather than not harsh and drying. We typically approach that middle point from opposite ends of the spectrum, however in recent years we each have had the ability to appreciate the focus and efforts needed to reach that goal from both those extremes- from warm years and from cool years. Through extended efforts at each step of the way- in our viticultural practices- from more shoot positioning and leaf removal to allow reception of more sunlight, to extensive thinning, (even though the crop level was already lower than average), to more critical selection at the time of blending- we are proud of the results and proud to present the 2011 wines to you. We feel the wines from 2011 are extremely exciting- they show an energy and vibrancy not seen in warmer years, and share a balanced maturity with a plush and supple finish.

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