2021 Volcanic Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Estate Cabernet is the signature wine of Obsidian Ridge Vineyard and embodies the complexity and wildness of the site. The structure and intensity of upper blocks is complemented by aromatics and acidity of cooler blocks. The extreme climate, altitude, and volcanics of the site result a wine with distinct volcanic character—intense color, aroma and flavor, with a freshness and minerality that typifies the site.
VOLCANIC VINEYARD SITE
Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is 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, according vines the longest hang time and yielding beautiful balance.
The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon captures the personality and verticality of this complex site. Multiple vineyard blocks are harvested in dozens of unique lots and vinified individually until crafting the final blend. Fermentation is completed in 8-10 days and wines are pressed immediately to avoid over extraction of the skins.
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 tends to emphasize herbal and spice components, and are toasted slowly at low temperatures to avoid imparting overt toasty notes. For this Estate bottling, we use exclusively Kádár Tokaj barrels from our own cooperage, 40% new, aged 15 months.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker