Rich, concentrated berries form the decadent core, layered with intriguing spices and dusty, leather nuances. Bright cherries and ripe plums slip in on the palate, lifting the flavors into a spicy finish. Generous and round, with medium weight and supple tannins, this wine is a welcome companion to barbecued hamburgers, baked penne or roasted pork.
With close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the nights remain slightly chilly, but the days are generally long, dry and quite hot. This balance of temperatures allows for long hang times and slow, even development of fruit on the vine, ultimately producing grapes with ripe, jammy fruit, juicy acidity and soft tannin structure.
The extended drought was creating concern as the 2016 growing season began, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at relief to come. After a relatively dry January there was significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. The first noticeable fall rainstorm arrived mid-October, but offered no threat to the fruit. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Fruit was harvested as winemaker called the pick from September 14 to October 19, 2016.
To develop the aromatics and bring forward the nuances in flavor, we let the grapes sit in a cold-soak for three days. During fermentation, we used frequent punch-downs, which maintained constant contact between the rising skins and juice, pulling forward maximum expression of character. To lend subtle nuances of spice, we aged the wine for eight months with French and American oak.