ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Syrah & 2% Merlot
• pH: 3.73
• TA: 0.62g / 100 ml
• ALCOHOL: 13.7%
• AGING: 19 months in French & American Oak
• PRODUCTION: 2,974 cases


Vintage

Cabernet is always the last grape to ripen on our property. We started harvest of our Cabernet on the 8th of October with our hillside block of Clone 6 Cabernet. Lower yields and a naturally open cluster help this block to ripen sooner than our other blocks, which were slightly more stubborn. With shorter days and cooler temperatures, we re-started our harvest on the 22nd of October and picked through the 1st of November. Since all of our red fermenters were full, we granted our final Cabernet some extra hang time on the vine. We picked the last of the Cabernet on the 8th of November, one full month after the start of the Cabernet harvest.


Winemaking

With the harvest of our 2007 Cabernet being spread out over a month’s time, we had greater flexibility in how the wine was fermented. Some of the fruit was crushed into small (0.8 ton) bin fermenters. These bins were then inoculated with multiple yeast strains and hand punched down three times per day. Upon dryness, the bins were all pressed together to maximize the aromatics and mouth-feel acquired from the different yeast strains.

A majority of the fruit was crushed into our 10-ton open top fermenters. By utilizing larger scale fermentation, we were able to generate more heat through the fermentation process. This aids in our tannin extraction, creating wines with a firm tannin backbone. We also have additional options for cap management that are not available in a smaller fermentation.

A mix of punch-down, pump-over, and “drain and return” methods of cap control were all used to maximize tannin extraction. Pressed off the skins once the alcoholic fermentation was complete, the wines were racked twice and put into a mixture of French and American oak barrels. The wines were then aged for a total of 19 months in barrels. Post-barrel aging, individual lots were blended together to create the master cuvee. At this point, we conducted blending trials using small quantities of Merlot and Syrah. At the 4% addition level, Syrah added some amazing bright fruit notes to the nose of the Cabernet, and 2% Merlot contributed an additional layer of structure.


Winemaker Comments

Raspberry and currants rush to the front, gently yielding to deeper notes of coffee, cedar, and hints of pencil shavings. Ripe, red fruit fills the palate. As the wine works its magic, undertones of maple, cinnamon and cardamom mingle flawlessly with the ripe fruit tones. A harmonious blend of skin and oak tannins give this complex wine a lingering finish and a firm structure. Our ’07 Cabernet would be a great accompaniment to spice-rubbed filet mignon with a Cabernet reduction.