ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• COMPOSITION: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Syrah
• AGING: 28 months in French and American oak barrels
• pH: 3.83
• TA: 6.7 g/L
• ALCOHOL: 13.9%
• PRODUCTION: 202 cases
Our 2008 vintage got off to a cold start with April bringing record-setting low temperatures. This unusually cold spring resulted in a 2 week delay in bud break (when the leaves begin to emerge). When the warmer months finally arrived, we enjoyed a normal Columbia Valley summertime with average daytime highs in the mid to upper 80’s and lows in the 50’s. This weather pattern continued through September. The overall growing season was cloudier than 2007 but this seemed to have little impact on the development of the grapes. Harvest of the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon for Tradition began on the 9th of October and harvest of our Syrah began on the 14th of October.
The key to Tradition has always been about blending. Selecting the best lots from the vintage, blending them together, and then returning them to barrel for additional aging so what was once a blend of individual wines comes together in harmonious unity. In 2008, however, we made a bold decision to start a new tradition! Instead of blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in what some have dubbed a “Washington Bordeaux”, we took a different tack blending equal portions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, bringing the best of two historically great French regions (Bordeaux and Rhone) together into one wine. After 16 months in barrel, the very best single lots of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were selected. These two lots were distinguished by their outstanding individual character and for the harmony they created when blended together. Eight barrels were selected from each lot and the final cuvee was combined in tank. Once-used barrels were then selected for further aging of the blend using coopers that had proven themselves with our wines time and time again. The blend was then returned to these barrels for an additional 14 months of aging. This additional barrel age not only allowed the wines to marry together but the once-used barrels added subtle and complex oak nuances prior to bottling–creating our “new” Tradition.
Aromas of a chocolate raspberry torte dusted with cocoa powder waft out of a glass of our 2008 Tradition. As the wine opens in the glass, secondary characters of Bing cherry and fig mix with herbal notes of mint, sage and just a touch of pencil shavings. The texture is soft and plush with flavors of brambly raspberry and fig. The finish is firm and lingering with hints of toasted coconut. Slow roasted meat sliced thin and a glass of Tradition sounds amazing right now.