2014 Obsidian Ridge Estate
This is a deep, intensely colored wine with aromas of concentrated blackberries. It is still quite youthful and fruit-forward, but lands on the palate as a soft, juicy wine that’s round and plush. Flavors of fresh blackberries and black currants weave throughout. The wine has fine tannin and a medium weight despite the concentrated texture of the wine. This youthful wine promises to open up generously with time, perhaps even a decade of cellaring.
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.
Our Syrah is a blend of two clones planted on the mountainside, with each clone lending distinct character to the final blend. Handpicked at the crack of dawn, the grapes were carefully destemmed to tank where a warm fermentation followed to extract the brooding flavors that come with a young Syrah. The new wine was pressed at dryness and placed in our signature Kádár Hungary barrels, where it aged for 19 months. Frequent rackings in the wine’s youth released the expressive fruit character of the wine.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker
Michael Blaise Terrien, Founding Winemaker