1996 Cabernet Sauvignon
The 1996 growing season began with a mild winter and good rainfall. Our budbreak in early April was perfect and we looked forward to a bountiful year, but heavy rains during bloom significantly reduced the yield. Cool summer temperatures delayed the Cabernet harvest, but thanks to the small crop, it ripened before the fall rains. Harvested October 10th through the 14th.
The color for red wine comes from the grape skins. Unlike white wine production, we ferment the juice with the skins to extract as much color and flavor as possible. CO2 gas (a by-product of fermentation) bubbles up through the skins causing them to float to the top and form the “cap”. To ensure thorough extraction, we pumped juice from the bottom of the tank and sprinkled it over the cap throughout fermentation.
Following the Bordeaux tradition of extended maceration, the wine stayed with the skins for another two weeks to soften the Cabernet tannins. The wine was then drained and the skins pressed. The first year of aging was in French (80%) and American (20%) oak barrels in our caves. During its first winter, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation which reduced the acidity and added richness. In its second year, the 1996 was aged in both oak barrels and tanks. Prior to bottling, this Cabernet had a light fining to soften its tannins. It was bottled in August 1998.
At our Annual Vertical Tasting in March 2016, we tasted the 1996 and here are our notes: Earthly, mint, dark plums, juniper berries, cigar box, vanilla. Round, rich, silky on the palate. Chewy, long, dark chocolate finish.