Long acknowledged as one of California’s premier sites for Cabernet Sauvignon, the Bosché family’s eponymous vineyard in Rutherford has a history like no other.
Freemark Abbey’s bottling of Cabernet Bosché has been an established Napa Valley wine for many vintages. It was, in fact, one of the valley’s first vineyard-designated wines.
Tucked away behind a row of creek-fed trees west of Highway 29, Bosché Vineyard has, as of 2020, been connected to Freemark Abbey for 50 years. The first Cabernet Bosché came out of the 1970 harvest. Since then, it’s been what in France would be called a monopole, or a vineyard entirely under the control of a single winery.
San Francisco attorney John Bosché planted the Rutherford vineyard in the mid-1960s. By the time Ted Edwards arrived in St. Helena in 1980, the vineyard’s unique Cabernet and Merlot fruit had already been harvested ten times for Freemark Abbey. Almost four decades later, Bosché Vineyard is going stronger than ever, both as a signature new release each year and as a coveted part of the Freemark Abbey wine library.
A Rutherford Vineyard’s Unique Cabernet
When John Bosché planted the 22-acre vineyard kitty-corner to two of Napa Valley’s most famous properties, Beaulieu Vineyard and Inglenook, he recognized the importance of the location.
Just as important, he felt that its gravelly soil was ideal for grapes like Cabernet and Merlot because the ground had a hard time holding water. Good drainage is essential to any grape--growing for the purpose of making wine. What Bosché might not have predicted back then was what a unique Cabernet program he and his family were embarking upon in the Rutherford Bench.
The proof is born out in Freemark Abbey’s wine library. As recent examples, Cabernet Bosché library releases from the 1999 and 2009 vintages were poured for guests, part of the Library Experience tasting. This pair of presumably mature vintages are barely showing their age, such are the concentration and power provided by the Bosché site. Each wine has years of potential cellar time ahead of it. They reflect one of the most unique relationships that exists between a Napa Valley vineyard and winery.