2015 Obsidian Ridge "Suitcase Clones"
We aged this wine for 18 months in a mix of MT+ Tokaji and Petraea barrels. It is a departure from all our other Obsidian offerings, displaying less dark fruit character and much more high-toned red fruit flavors such as maraschino cherries and fresh red currants. There is an “old-world” tone to the wine, with aromas of pencil lead, cedar, dry herbs and vanilla bean. On the palate the wine is soft and silky, with concentrated red cherry flavors and dry figs. This wine calls to the lover of classic Cabernets of the past.
This unique offering is made from fruit planted on a tiny parcel at the peak of Obsidian Ridge, at 2,640' elevation. The vines are clones of cuttings brought to California decades ago by the legendary grape grower John Caldwell. He propagated them, then had them certified for distribution across California. When Obsidian was being planted back in the year 2000, John consulted with us on planting Cabernet Sauvignon. We thought it would be special to plant our smallest block at the peak of our vineyard with his best clones. After years of blending this fruit into our Estate wines, we finally kept this fruit separate and vinified it carefully.
This harvest was especially memorable in the Red Hills at our Obsidian Ridge Vineyard. The "Valley Fire”, which scorched the earth across 76,000+ acres, actually began only a few miles south of our vineyard in the town of Cobb. Adding to the drama was the fact that the day of the fire coincided with our first day of harvest. We were able to get our first load safely down the mountain, but because of the extent of the blaze, we were not permitted to reenter for days. It was a nail-biting period, rampant with phone calls between the fire authorities, our vineyard managers and the winery to try and assess which way the wind was blowing. Days later, when we finally got a call from the county authorities that we could reenter escorted, we found that we were upwind of any and all smoke and fire. Our vineyards were unscathed. Cool temperatures and an unusual strong rainfall a week later helped the valiant firefighters gain the upper hand on the flames, allowing us to experience a very high quality wine harvest amidst the environmental and human toll that the fire had taken on the surrounding area.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker