Demonstrating many similarities to the 1997 vintage, the 2004 growing season began with normal rainfall followed by an early, pleasantly warm Spring marked by timely bud-break and bloom. The first signs of veraison appeared several weeks ahead of schedule in the first few days of July. Cooler summer temperatures allowed for steady, even ripening of the moderately sized crop. A few days of hot, windy weather in August lent a final touch of richness and concentration to the fruit.
Our family vineyard, located on the valley floor just north of St. Helena on the Silverado Trail, possesses well-drained, sandy, alluvial soils and is characterized by its ability to produce complex wines with well-defined fruit flavors, gentle acids and naturally balanced tannins. Further north, our Ehlers Lane Vineyard consists of a stony, dry streambed and a knoll composed of thin gravelly soil over hard volcanic ash. Planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon these infertile soils produce low yields of grapes with concentrated flavors.
Following harvest, the grapes were de-stemmed but not crushed, allowing increased control over tannin extraction by minimizing the possibility of broken skins and split seeds. Following a 48-hour cold soak to extract color and flavor, the grapes underwent a warm, fermentation, with pump-overs occurring twice daily. The free-run juice was transferred to oak barrels, where it underwent malolactic fermentation.
Our third vintage of Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon epitomizes the unique and rich varietal characters of our best estate Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Blending in a small amount of Petit Verdot boosts the wine’s elegant structure while a bit of Malbec highlights the wine’s red fruit characters. This robust red wine is seductively luxuriant with a silky, full and even mouth feel. Lush aromas of blackberry, cassis and cranberry bread are framed by layers of spicy oak, exotic allspice, brewed coffee and milk chocolate. On the palate the round, elegant tannins cradle lingering nuances of perfectly ripe raspberry, candied plum, sweet maple sugar, dark mocha and smoky vanilla. The recommended drinking time for our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is four to six years from vintage, with an hour of decanting prior to drinking. The maximum suggested aging of this wine is ten to twelve years from vintage. We recommend magnums for long term aging.
Blend: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec
Barrel Aging: 21 months, 100% French oak