ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• COMPOSITION: 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Verdot
• pH: 3.67
• TA: 6.6 g/L
• ALCOHOL: 13.1%
• AGING: 19 months in French & American oak barrels
• PRODUCTION: 2,600 cases
The vintage of 2011 was the coolest we’d experienced in the last 20 years with no real heat to speak of until September. With the arrival of multiple 90+ degree days it drove our grapes to develop intense color and bold fruit flavors. Harvest of our estate Cabernet Sauvignon started on the 24th of October and finished on the 28th along with the picking of our Petite Verdot.
The summer we experienced in 2011 resulted in lower natural sugar than we typically have. This changed our focus to one of maintaining fruit purity while building body through the use of new oak barrels. Harvested in ½ ton picking bins, we brought the fruit directly from the field to the winery. To extract color and flavor prior to the onset of fermentation, the grapes were de-stemmed, crushed and pumped into our open top fermenters where we macerated the fruit for 24 hours prior to yeast addition. After the initiation of fermentation, cap management began in earnest with drain-and-returns performed on all tanks twice a day–the wine is drained from the tank through the racking valve on the tank and splashed through a stainless steel screen and into a sump until the flow of wine stops. The wine is then pumped back over the top of the must, flooding the cap with wine. In this fashion we guarantee that we are working with the entire volume of the tank, increasing extraction of the tannins from the grapes. By splashing the wine we infuse the must with oxygen which helps soften the tannins and improve mouth feel. Once the sugar was consumed by the yeast, we pressed off the wine and placed it into a mixture of barrels with almost 65% of the barrels being new American oak barrels. While French oak tends to add tannin to the wine American oak brings sweetness and a palate filling softness to the wine that was beneficial in the cooler vintage. After 19 months of aging the wines were blended together in tank along with a 2% addition of Petite Verdot in preparation for bottling, bringing aromatic nuances and extra depth to an already profound Cabernet Sauvignon.
Aromas of bright cherry and a deep note of musk promise good things to come. The fruit is bright and lively on the palate, surrounded and supported by warm toasty notes. The finish is lingering and savory, inviting another sip of our 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy!