2014 Obsidian Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
The nose is intriguing: brambly and dark with hints of cocoa powder. Rich and generous in the mouth, this wine features notes of black cherries mixed with blackberries and is soft yet voluminous. The concentration is representative of the third year of drought in California, creating dense, layered flavors that hold on the palate.
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.
A blend of eight blocks from the Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, the lush flavors and sweetness come from the fruit picked of the steep slopes that rise from 2,300' to 2,640'. The spicy aroma and structure comes from fruit picked later in the season from the lower blocks of the vineyard at 2,300'. A small percent of Petit Verdot was added for aromatic intensity and volume. The young wines were placed in our Kádár Hungary barrels where they aged for 21 months.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker