ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• COMPOSITION: 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 3% Syrah
• pH: 3.86
• TA: 0.61 g/100 mL
• ALCOHOL: 13.9%
• PRODUCTION: 200 cases
Representing the best wines from the vintage, the growing season for the 2007 Tradition was filled with ample sunshine that developed grapes of amazing character and intensity. Harvest for the 2007 Tradition began on the 26th of September with our Block 14 Syrah. As fall deepened and the winds blew colder, under overcast skies we harvested Merlot on the 15th of October followed shortly by Cabernet Sauvignon on the 23rd. These Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon hail from some of the oldest plantings in the vineyard, which was established in 1982.
Our Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grapes were gently crushed into our open-top stainless steel fermenting tanks. The skins and juice were allowed to macerate for 24 hours, providing an ethanol-free environment in which the grapes’ natural enzymes assist in early extraction of color and flavor. After 24 hours we inoculated the wines with a variety of yeast strains, enhancing complexity in the final blend. Fermentations ran 7-14 days prior to pressing. During this time we implemented a new cap management technique referred to as a drain and return. 1-2 times a day the wine was pulled off from the racking valve on the tank and splashed through a stainless steel screen and cart. The wine was then pumped to an empty tank completely separating the wine from the grapes. Once the drain is finished the entire volume of wine was pumped back over the top of the tank onto the fermenting cap. This flooding of the cap along with the oxygen introduction from all the splashing was instrumental in extraction of color and tannin while maintaining a healthy fermentation with deep fruit flavors. After fermentation was complete, the wine was drawn off and the skins were pressed.
All of the finished wine was aged in small oak barrels for 14 months. After aging, we evaluated the wines and commenced the assembly of the final blend. We sampled each barrel and chose only the finest wines from the vintage for inclusion in Tradition. Each year we begin the blending of Tradition with the optimal combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. For the 2007 vintage, 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Merlot provided a rich, supple wine with firm tannins. We then added a small amount of Syrah to enhance Tradition with layers of depth and complexity. The key to Tradition is that no one varietal dominates in taste or texture–instead, all three come together in a harmonious union. After blending, we returned the wine to one year-old barrels for an additional 16 months of aging. This additional time in barrel allowed the three wines to marry as one, and imparted a subtle note of additional oak. The wine was bottled in August of 2010 and allowed 6 months of bottle age prior to release for development of superior bottle bouquet.
The extraordinary depth of the 2007 Tradition is only revealed with time. Tradition opens with overt tones of brown sugar and maple syrup. As the wine develops multiple aromas waft from the glass: sassafras, raspberry, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and hints of chili powder.
In the mouth the wine begins with strawberry patch and touches of brambly raspberries. Full firm tannins provide lift and structure with a darker character of molasses tinged with tar and black pepper. Continually changing in the glass, marzipan with hints of rose petal, and dried apricot transform into lush core of juicy blueberries and blackberries with a finishing touch of anise. Enjoy!