2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Terrace
Dry Creek Valley
Vineyard: Best known for old vine Zinfandel and new plantings of Rhône varieties, the Dry Creek Valley is fully capable of producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon when the right conditions come together at a particular site. When we first laid eyes on the Terrace Block at the Merrill’s Vinegrove adjacent to our winery, we knew we had found such a site. Planted on a steep south-southwest facing hillside a few hundred feet up from the valley floor, the combination of sun exposure, well-draining soil, and slightly cooler temperatures create the perfect storm for richly flavored, densely structured, classic California Cabernet.
Vintage: On the heels of a stressful 2017, growers and winemakers were thankful for a return to an uneventful but fruitful vintage in 2018. A cool spring started off the ideal growing season with a near-perfect fruit set in the spring, and summer temperatures were moderate with fewer heat spikes than the previous years. As a result, harvest started two to three weeks later than during the recent extended drought, but along a more historically typical timeline. The long hang times and even ripening yielded wines that show concentrated flavor and structure without being over-ripe - an ideal California Cabernet vintage.
Winemaking: The grapes were de-stemmed into a small open-top tank for a long cold soak to encourage development of color before fermentation began spontaneously with wild yeast. Fermentation continued without the addition of any chemicals or enzymes, aided only by the heat of the sun and gravity-fed "pump-overs" once per day. After pressing the wine went into 50% new French oak barrels, aged for 24 months, and was racked only once, immediately prior to bottling.
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