2014 Obsidian Ridge "The Slope"
A strong blackberry jam note dominates the aroma, with supporting notes of blueberry cobbler with vanilla. A hint of minty pine alludes to the mountain setting of the vineyard. Intense and concentrated in the mouth, this wine presents hints of blackberry juice with cinnamon spice. It is youthful and bright, with an impressive fruit intensity and balanced acid.
Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is planted at 2,640' atop the Mayacamas range north of the Napa Valley. This is one of the newest American Viticultural Areas, named Red Hills Lake County for the distinctive volcanic soils that define this remarkable mountain appellation. The vineyard’s red soils are shot through with obsidian rock — this steep, sloping terroir of obsidian gravel is all that a winemaker could hope for. The unrestricted drainage and meager soil fertility produce wines with great tannic structure.
Drought led conversations all over the farmlands and vineyards of California in early 2014. However, strong, compact rains in February and March helped secure a solid growing season for the vines through spring and early summer. The size of our crop was minimally affected, but it was slightly lower than the previous two years. During harvest, there were no extreme heat waves, which helped moderate ripening. The tricky issue was that, with the record-breaking drought, the vines ripened fruit earlier than ever before. Most of our varietals were ripening at the same time in early September, and it felt odd to be picking Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon concurrently with our Poseidon Vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Timing aside, the modest temperatures of late summer and fall afforded us the luxury of picking at optimum ripeness.
The grapes sourced for "The Slope" came from our C and D block, the steepest sections of Obsidian Ridge. They were some of the earlier grapes to ripen, and they exhibited a richness and spice that was unlike the rest of the blocks. After carefully destemming the fruit, we fermented the wines separately in tanks at higher temperatures to gain as much extract as possible for this big wine. We placed the young wines into a handful of Kádár "Petraea" barrels from our cooperage; the oak from these barrels was sourced exclusively for its extra-tight grain. The two lots were eventually blended together and barrel-aged for 19 months.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker
Michael Blaise Terrien, Founding Winemaker