2016 Obsidian Ridge "The Slope"
The Slope displays aromas of dark, ripe berries, black licorice and cinnamon spice. A thread of cedar and dried herbs adds to the varietal complexity of this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Flavors are bold and ripe with blackberry jam and sweet concentrated summer fruits. A firm acidity and good grip balance the warm, toasty notes of the wine.
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.
The grip of California’s four-year drought began to loosen in 2016 with a wet spring. Late season rains graced the beginning of the springtime growing season, replenishing the soil and giving the awakening vines critical nourishment. With less dehydration stress, the vines had a healthy canopy and well-balanced fruit load, with fuller grape clusters and slightly larger berries. Vine health and vigor in 2016 made for a smooth growing season and harvest, resulting in more voluptuous wines, approachable in their youth but rewarding patience.
Grapes sourced for The Slope came from our G and B blocks. 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 de-stemming the fruit, we co-fermented the two blocks in a small tank at high temperatures to gain as much extract as possible for this big wine. We placed the young wine into a handful of Kádár "Petraea" barrels from our cooperage. The oak from these experimental barrels was sourced exclusively for its extra-tight grain. Over the 18 months of barrel age, the aroma and spiciness of this wine became so compelling that it made this an easy choice for The Slope.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker