On the nose, layers of cherry, clover and orange spice mingle with notes of smoked meat and cracked pepper.
The cherry and game layers are echoed on the rich, round palate, along with hints of violet, sassafras and zesty minerality. While the finish is long and silky, a refreshing note of acidity adds firmness, while framing the berry and game flavors.
2015 began with a very warm February and March, followed by abundant heat from mid-May to late June. To address the early season heat, which spurred the vines to a very early start, we tailored our irrigation, crop size and shading to the needs of the vineyard. From July on, the weather returned to seasonal averages, allowing us to fine-tune our viticulture in the run-up to harvest.
Though harvest was our earliest ever, thanks to knowledge gained from other warm vintages, the quality of the fruit was exceptional. We harvested the Tablas Creek clone of syrah on September 9th, at 24.3º Brix. Our cabernet sauvignon and mourvèdre were both picked on September 16th at 24.4º and 21.7º respectively.
Grapes were harvested by hand and hand-sorted on shaker tables, with gravity transfer to tank. 33% of the syrah was fermented whole cluster. The rest was destemmed, as was the cabernet and mourvèdre. All fermentations were native yeast: the syrah fermentation lasted 14 days, the mourvèdre 13, and the cabernet 13. The ferments were kept cool, and only free-run wine was used.
The lees were excellent, so we aged the wines with them in neutral puncheons and barrels. Cellaring lasted 17 months, with no new oak, and the wine was blended prior to bottling. After bottling, the wine was given an additional year to integrate before release.