ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon – Estate Grown
• pH: 3.64
• TA: 7.2g / L
• ALCOHOL: 13.9%
• AGING: 16 months in French & American Oak
• PRODUCTION: 430 cases


With the month of April setting record low temperatures spring came late to our clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon. Our vines didn’t decide to wake up until the middle of May with the shifting of weather patterns from abnormally cold to wonderfully warm. Shoot development rapidly caught up with historical norms and the grapes developed right on schedule. Our summer was slightly cloudier than 2007 but the grapes didn’t seem to mind. The beginning of October saw a dramatic cooling in the weather that allowed the clone 6 Cabernet to continue ripening while maintaining vibrant acidity. With frost starting to appear around the middle of the month it was a sure sign that it was time to pick the grapes. We harvested the clone 6 Cabernet on the 18th of October.


With just over 12 tons of small, intensely colored clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon berries, we crushed the fruit to one our open top fermenters. Due to the smaller berry size and loose cluster structure we were able to squeeze all 12 tons into a fermenter that would normally only hold 10 tons. This turned out to be a mixed blessing as the fermentation progressed. After a 24 hour period of cold soaking the fruit for improved color and aromatic intensity, we chose a yeast strain that had been isolated from Bordeaux and was known for producing wines with soft, silky, integrated tannins. Within hours it became evident that not only was the yeast known for tannin development but it was also a vigorous fermenter. The cap on the tank had begun to rise and was going to overflow the tank if left alone. We decided to “bleed” the tank so we took some of the free-run juice and transferred it to barrels for fermentation. The next morning the tank once again looked like it had the potential to overflow so we pulled off two more barrels of juice. Both of these “bleeds” had the effect of increasing the ratio of grape skins to juice and added to the intensity of the finished wine. The wine was slowly fermented for a total of 16 days. To improve our extraction from the grapes we combined our twice a day “drain and return” technique with 2-3 punch downs of the cap with our pneumatic punch down device. The wine was then pressed off and allowed to settle in tank for 24 hours prior to racking the wine and transferring the wine to barrels for malo-lactic fermentation and aging. During aging an occasional racking was used to clarify the wines and help the softening of the tannins. When the final racking occurred we decided at that point to blend in small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon from our other two vineyard blocks. With the addition of these other two Cabernets we found extra layers of depth and complexity evolved from what was already an amazing starting point. The wine was allowed to marry together in tank for over a month prior to bottling on the 30th of April.

Winemaker Comments

One of the first things you notice about SIX is the intense purple red hue that carries all the way through to the edge of the glass, more reminiscent of black cherry juice than wine. Gently nosing the glass whiffs of rose petal and juniper berry are nestled amongst scents of clove and cedar. A satiny mouth feel leads to a firm tannic middle like biting into the skin of a ripe summer plum. This transitions to a lingering finish of cherry almond dusted with cocoa powder. Try pairing this luscious wine with Beef Bourguignon or Molten Lava Cake. Enjoy!