2014 Obsidian Ridge Estate Petit Verdot
The extended aging gives an exotic scent of dark-roasted coffee, wet stone, black olive and ripe blueberry. On the palate this wine is dense and focused. After a wash of firm tannins, the juicy black currant, licorice, char and gamey flavors emerge and play out over a seemingly endless finish.
Tart, dark and tannic, Petit Verdot is a key component of our Half Mile proprietary blend. The highest elevation of Obsidian Ridge is graced with two acres of this traditional Bordeaux grape. We have found the wine, when aged for an additional third year in our tightest-grain Petraea oak barrels, shows beautifully and deserves this single-varietal bottling.
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. Timing aside, the modest temperatures of late summer and fall afforded us the luxury of picking at optimum ripeness.
Our small parcel of Petit Verdot grows high on the crest of H block at Obsidian Ridge, one of the choicest spots on the farm. It was hand-picked in early October, the grapes were carefully destemmed and placed whole berry into a small tank. After a warm fermentation, the wine was gently pressed off the skins, and racked to a handful of new Kádár barrels. The H block Petit Verdot was the heart and soul of the first several vintages of Half Mile, our reserve red blend. As the personality of Half Mile evolved in 2014 to use less Petit Verdot, we decided to give the remaining barrels some extra time to develop. Our reds typically see 18 to 24 months in barrel, but we nurtured and watched this lot until its evolution warranted its own, 100% varietal bottling, after 43 months.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker