Thursday, December 02, 2010

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

Final of three in the series on our Winter Futures/Spring Release

Our 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon is again a blend of three unique vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The Elandrich Vineyard performed well during the season and yield was up slightly from 2007 at about 1600 pounds. The break down was 1000 pounds of Merlot, 500 pounds of Cabernet Sauvignon, and 100 pounds of Zinfandel and just about 30 pounds of Syrah. The grapes were harvested on the morning of October 9th and crushed and destemmed at Chaine d’Or. Final Brix was 22.5 and pH was 3.47 Superfood was added to the bin and fermentation was on native yeasts. Fermentation took 12 days and the wine was gently pressed and transferred to a new Sequin Moreau barrel. An additional ½ barrel was added to the Haut Tubee blend.

The Chaine d ‘Or Estate Vineyard was under our first year of management and we took steps to limit yields and open the canopy for more ripeness and sunlight in the Cabernet section. Yields were further limited by natural conditions of the unusual season. The clusters and berries were very small and of intense flavor this season with complete ripeness coming in late October. Harvest took place on the morning of October 25th with a mostly volunteer crew and we finished in just over 2 hours, bringing in 1800 pounds of grapes or under one ton per acre. Brix at harvest was 26.5, a high for the site and pH was 3.42.

The grapes were 100% destemmed and crushed into a single t-bin. The natural, native yeasts of the estate were used and a Malolactic starter was added half way through fermentation. Punch downs were limited to one per day to minimize tannin extraction and in an effort to keep the wine from becoming too dark and intense. Fermentation was very gentle and extended for 23 days. The wine was gently pressed and transferred to tank to settle for 72 hours before being placed in one new sequin Moreau barrel and one used French oak barrel.

The blend included 250 pounds of estate Merlot that was harvested on October 9th. Those grapes were destemmed and crushed and began fermentation on native yeast in a 60 gallon tub. The must was combined with the Cabernet Sauvignon on 10/25. Small amounts of the estates Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc were also added at harvest on October 25th.

The Harvest Moon Vineyard also saw yields down greatly in 2008 and we took just 2 tons from the vineyard vs. 8 tons we had hoped for. Harvest took place on October 26th and the grapes were transferred to Chaine d’Or for processing. Final numbers were Brix, 23.5 and pH 3.62. The grapes were destemmed and crushed into our 3 ½ ton stainless steel tank for fermentation on native yeast. Malolactic starter was added 10 day later. Fermentation was very slow and gentle and we used a combination of pump over’s and punch downs averaging one per day. We used a gentle routine in 2008 on all our Cabernet’s to minimize the huge tannins of the vintage.

The must completed fermentation on 11/17 after 22 days and was pressed into tank for 72 hours to settle. Due to the large solid to juice ratio, we had to climb into the tank and bucket out the large amount of must into the press. The wine was transferred to 3 new Sequin Moreau barrels and two neutral French oak barrels.

In the Spring of 2009 we combined the two barrels of Chaine d'Or with two barrels from Harvest Moon. That May the single barrel of Elandrich was added to the blend and an additional Harvest Moon barrel was chosen to provide topping wine. We racked the blended wine more often than usual in an effort to soften the tannins in the wine. The finished wine was bottled in August of 2010 after 22 months in barrel. The final blend is:

81% Cabernet Sauvignon
17% Merlot
1% Zinfandel
1 % Cab Franc

Tasting Note: The wine is dark hued tending to purple. The nose is classic Cabernet with plum, dark berry fruit and currants with a top note of spicy oak. In the mouth the wine shows more dark berry fruit, mocha, ripe currant and a touch of toast. The wine is very well structured and comes across as fresh even with the huge tannins. The structure, acidity and density reminds me a great deal of a Super Tuscan, being very well rounded. The finish is long with complex black fruits showing. Promises a very long life in bottle.

94 Cases Produced

Release: Spring of 2011

Release Price: $120 per 3 pack, $225 per six pack

1 comment:

Elanie said...

Now this is something to look forward to tasting! Cheers!