2019 “The Slope” Cabernet Sauvignon
The sixteen barrels selected for the 2019 “The Slope” Cabernet Sauvignon hail from Block E1 in the central slope of the Estate, chosen for their round and supple tannins structure and beautiful balance. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits aromas and flavors of rich cassis and black cherry laced with spiced cinnamon, cardamom and a touch of brown sugar. A generous, textured wine with plush fruit, a sueded mouthfeel and long finish.
VOLCANIC VINEYARD SITE
Obsidian Ridge Vineyard sits on a volcanic flow at the northern tip of the Mayacamas Range at a half mile of elevation. Vines planted in 1999 on red volcanic soils shot with black obsidian are subject to an unforgiving, mountain climate. Low humidity, cold night time temperatures, and ultraviolet exposure 10% greater than at sea level all contribute to developing small grapes with dark color, thick skins, and intense flavors.
THREE ELEVATION ZONES
The estate is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon across three climactic zones ranging from 2,300 to 2,640 feet. The uppermost portion sits above the inversion layer on the steepest, rockiest slope, ten degrees warmer on average than the lowest elevation of the vineyard. As a result, vines above 2,500’ bud and ripen a month earlier and produce powerful, ripe flavors. The lower third of the vineyard has the gentlest slope and the coolest temperatures, yielding wines that are the most aromatic and nuanced. The central portion of the vineyard is the most protected site, affording vines the longest hang time and yielding beautiful balance.
Obsidian wines are the only Cabernet Sauvignons in California (perhaps the world) aged in 100% Hungarian oak barrels. Our source forest in Tokaj is planted to the same oak species used in France, Quercus Petraea, however the trees grow more slowly due to the volcanic soils, resulting in 30% higher density of the wood. These super-tight-grain barrels are low in vanillan and relatively high in eugenol, which emphasize herbal and spice components, and are toasted slowly at low temperatures to avoid imparting overt toasty notes. For “The Slope,” we use exclusively Kádár Tokaj barrels from our own cooperage, 50% new, aged 18 months.
Each lot of Obsidian Cabernet Sauvignon is fermented and aged separately to express its unique personality. Winemaker Alex Beloz tastes each individual barrel and selected only sizteen barrels of the most rounded, nuanced lots from the vintage to craft “The Slope.”
Alex Beloz, Winemaker