2017 Obsidian Ridge "Half Mile" Cabernet Sauvignon
Half Mile is the darkest and richest wine we make from Obsidian Ridge Vineyard. The 2017 vintage is no exception; it is perhaps even darker and more brooding than usual. Shy and reserved when first opened, it should be decanted for best results. You'll be rewarded with aromas of fresh blackberries, dried cherries, licorice and a gentle pine forest lift. Flavors of cocoa powder, espresso and blackberries fit neatly within the taut tannic structure that teeters on a balanced edge. The 2017 has an earthy element, and an endurance that may prove it to be the longest-lived vintage of Half Mile.
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. At 2,640' elevation, this vineyard may produce the only wine made in California 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.
Northern California continued to recover from the drought, and the year began with abundant rainfall and mild spring weather. The rejuvenated vines produced a beautiful crop. Summer temperatures were normal and harvest began slightly early and slowly. On October 8th, terrible wildfires erupted in Napa and Sonoma Counties. We were fortunate that we had already completed the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir harvest from Poseidon Vineyard, and Obsidian Ridge Vineyard was well north of the fire and smoke and was totally unaffected. It was a year that the attentive winemaker, one familiar with their vineyards and with a committed and reliable crew, was rewarded.
Following on the success and learning from our first vintages making “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 this reserve wine all new barrels crafted by our Kádár cooperage with oak sourced from the Tokaj 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