ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• COMPOSITION: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot & 1% Syrah – Estate Grown
• pH: 3.74
• TA: 6.7g / L
• ALCOHOL: 13.8%
• AGING: 20 months in French & American Oak
• PRODUCTION: 2,992 cases
Cabernet Sauvignon is, by its very nature, a late variety– in a normal growing season it will break bud and ripen later than almost any other grape variety we grow. Thus in 2009, with cool winter weather that persisted well into May, we had serious concerns about our Cabernet ripening by harvesttime. Fortunately, the cool spring quickly transitioned into a hot summer, with record-breaking heat in July and August. As the calendar turned to September, the grapes began the change from hard green marbles to dark purple and plump juiciness. The thermometer showed low 80’s in the afternoons, letting the fruit fully ripen without overly stressing the vines. Harvest of our 2009 Cabernet began on the on the 7th of October with our Clone 6 block and we finished off picking our original planting on the 15th.
Our goal in crafting the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was to preserve and, if possible, enhance the character of the delicious fruit. Harvested in ½ ton picking bins, the fruit was brought 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 we initiated 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. 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 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 French and American Oak barrels for 20 months. This aging mellows the wines developing additional complexity. After aging, the wines were blended together in tank in preparation for bottling.
This big, bold Cab practically leaps from the glass with enticing aromas of cassis, anise, hay, blackberry and dark chocolate along with a delicious smokiness. To the palate, the wine is firm and concentrated with robust flavors of leather, raspberry and chocolate. As air is introduced into the mouthful of wine, one experiences the headiness of a cigar box. The finish is long and smooth with a lingering hint of dried fig, tobacco and chocolate. Pair this wine with a sumptuous ribeye steak, maybe with a blue cheese and herb compound butter. Bring out your best dark chocolates for dessert!