1997 Cabernet Sauvignon
1997 began with a flash, literally. At 1:20 am, January 1st, Sausal Creek, which runs next to the winery, became a raging torrent. It destroyed our pumphouse and ripped through our fences, but fortunately, our vines were spared. We had an uneventful Spring and warm Summer; an early harvest was expected until rain hit on August 18, dropping 1 3/4”. Moderate temperatures followed and harvest was almost leisurely. Harvest began on September 27.
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 pump juice from the bottom of the tank and sprinkle it over the cap throughout fermentation.
Following the Bordeaux tradition of extended maceration, the wine stayed on the skins for another two weeks to soften the grape 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 lowered the acidity and added richness. In its second year, the 1997 was aged in both oak barrels and tanks. Prior to bottling, this Cabernet had a light fining to further soften its tannins. The wine was bottled in August 1999.
At our Annual Vertical Tasting in March 2016, we tasted the 1997 and here are our notes: Lovely. Rose petals, dark chocolate, cherries, black truffles, leather, sweet vanilla. Supple, rich, velvety, sweet fruit middle. Long, lingering finish. Surprisingly youthful.