ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah & 3% Merlot – Estate Grown
• pH: 3.68
• TA: 7.1g / L
• ALCOHOL: 13.7%
• AGING: 16 months in French & American Oak
• PRODUCTION: 4,800 cases


Our 2008 vintage got off to a cold start with April setting record low temperatures. This unusually cold spring resulted in a 2 week delay in bud break (when the leaves begin to emerge). Once spring released its icy grip, normal Columbia Valley summertime temperatures ensued 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 began on the 9th of October and finished on the 23rd of October.


The focus for our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was two fold. First we were looking for extraction and secondly we were looking for finesse. To achieve the first goal we monitored sugars, acid levels and flavors until the grapes were ripe but not overripe. If you think about eating a peach you want luscious flavors and the juice dripping down your chin but you still want firm flesh, not mushy. This is what we were looking for in our fruit. Once we achieved this, the fruit was brought to the winery in ½ ton picking bins. We then removed the stems from the grapes and gently broke open the berries using our de-stemmer/crusher. The grapes, now called must, were pumped to our open top fermenting tanks where we macerated the fruit for 24 hours with the goal of extracting color and flavor in a juice environment prior to the onset of alcoholic fermentation. With the addition of yeast and the rising of the grapes to the surface of the tank due to carbon dioxide production, we began doing drain-and-returns to the tank twice a day. In this process 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. The wine is then pumped to another tank until no more wine can be drained from the tank. The wine is then pumped back over the top of the must flooding the cap with wine. In this fashion we guarantee we that we are working with the entire volume of the tank increasing our ability to extract the tannins from the grapes. By splashing the wine we infuse the must with oxygen which helps soften the tannins and improve mouth feel.

This procedure continued until fermentation came to a stand still. At this point we sealed the tanks and allowed the skins to continue steeping in the wine for up to 20 days. This increased maceration time allows the tannins to link up and create a softer, fuller sensation on the palate. Once the desired texture had been achieved we pressed off the wine and placed it into a mixture of French and American Oak barrels for 16 months. This aging time helps the wines to mellow and develop additional complexity. Once aging was complete the wines were blended together in tank in preparation for bottling.

Winemaker Comments

Aromas of graphite, cedar and raspberry bush gently rise from the glass. A second smell reveals deeper notes of ripe fruit and coffee/mocha. The wine’s entry is firm but luscious as the wine spreads out over the entire palate. Soft tannins coat the tongue and flavors of cherry and cranberry mix with toasted oak and hints of vanilla. The finish is lingering but crisp inviting another sip. With soft tannins and vibrant acid this wine calls out for cheese of the triple cream variety. Enjoy!