Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2006 Cabernet Rounds Into Form

The last wine of the 2006 vintage has finally taken shape. With a renewed emphasis on our Cabernet heritage our small-production wines such as the Premier Cabernet Collection and Single Vineyard Series take precedence. Our largest production wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon - Livermore Valley, had to wait.

Numbering now at about 1,000 cases, the 2006 vintage of Cabernet will be released in April or May of this year. What began in my head as an 80%+ Cabernet blend (a little bit of Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot in there to get to 100%) ended up in my glass as a 100% Cab comprised of six different clones from four different vineyards.

I drew samples from nine different barrel groups, taking wine from 2-4 barrels from each group depending upon how barrels are available. I then taste each grouping separately making notes about the wines. Next, I put together a representative blend of just the Cabernets as that wine would be the foundation for whatever other Bordeaux varieties might make the cut.

First impressions are important but hardly conclusive. I have made blends that I loved and got them home to taste them later and couldn't imagine what I liked in the wine. The same on the other pole. After making the Cab blends, I made a blend with the other varieties and let them sit while I went to get my son lunch.

Under the best of circumstances, I will have more than one blend that I like a lot. Then the questions become those of volume and the fate of the barrels that don't make this blend. Some of the folks on our hospitality team tasted the two wines that came out of this session, and the 100% Cabernet ended up being the unanimous favorite.

Right around the beginning of Spring, you'll be able to taste the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Livermore Valley and tell me whether I got it right.

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