2016 Obsidian Ridge "Half Mile" Cabernet Sauvignon
Our 2016 Half Mile shows deep purple and garnet hues that call to mind the black volcanic rock throughout our vineyard. In the glass, it entices with aromas of intense spiced plum, blackberry pie and a hint of black licorice. A soft, velvety entry then fleshes out with juicy, ripe plum and fresh black cherry mid-palate. The flavors evolve further, expanding with notes of dark chocolate and a touch of toasted oak on the finish. This wine is youthful but well-balanced, and the firm tannins give a cue to its longevity.
When Peter Molnar laid out the blocks to be planted at Obsidian Ridge, he singled out a notch at the highest elevation with the hope of making a vin de garde, or wine meant to be aged. At 2,640' elevation, this vineyard may produce the only California wine grown at a half-mile high. Planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot, the block distinguishes itself with one variety in one year and another the next.
The grip of California’s four-year drought began to loosen in 2016 with a wet spring. Late season rains graced the beginning of the springtime growing season, replenishing the soil and giving the awakening vines critical nourishment. With less dehydration stress, the vines had a healthy canopy and well-balanced fruit load, with fuller grape clusters and slightly larger berries. Vine health and vigor in 2016 made for a smooth growing season and harvest, resulting in more voluptuous wines, approachable in their youth but rewarding patience.
Following on the success of and learning from our first vintages of “Half Mile,” we have now evolved this Cabernet-based reserve wine with judicious blending of both Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. We have applied the same principles as previous years, and given it all new barrels crafted by our Kádár cooperage with oak sourced from the Tokaji forest in Hungary. These are slow-extraction, slow-evolution barrels, and they magically meld the high-acidity Petite Sirah and monolithic Petit Verdot into the broad base of rich, dark, fruit-driven mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. A multi-octave harmony is achieved, which becomes apparent particularly toward the end of the wine’s residence in barrel. This blending and time in barrel is essential to the persistence, focus, elegance, and age-ability of Half Mile.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker