2014 Wolfskill Reserve Wolfskill Vineyard
100% Cabernet Sauvignon planted in the 1970s by one of the descendants of William Wolfskill, one of the first great grape growers of California in the 19th century. The vineyard is on a moderately sloping hillside of excellent, well-drained Aiken soil, at the rocky intersection of Gordon Valley and Wooden Valley, just a few miles south of the Napa line in Suisun Valley. The vineyard is farmed with the great care and wisdom of Steve Tenbrink, who also grows the Babylon Petite Sirah for us. The vineyard is very restrained in its growth, and trained to a classical California sprawl, offering lots of dappled sunshine and easy passage of air for excellent, slow ripening without any roasting or dehydration.
We make the wine in a very traditional way: most of the fruit is destemmed, fermented in a large wooden tank with extensive pump-overs every day for about 30 days. Some of the fruit is fermented whole-cluster in large puncheons with frequent foot-treading. The two fermentation lots were aged separately for about 24 months in 220 liter neutral oak barrels, with infrequent topping and little SO2. After 2 years, the wines were racked and blended and then aged for another year in a single small tank.
Our customary winemaking never emphasizes fruit and instead pushes the wines toward more secondary and tertiary flavors and aromas, but the nature of this vineyard is to produce wine with a distinct and irrepressible classical core of fruit. The wine has more acidity and minerality than many of its northern California peers, but it is still a very classical California Cab, produced in homage to the Cabs of the 1970s.
Total production: 130 cases.