Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
In February 1996 we had a chilling freeze that reduced our crop by about a third, and that created two challenges. The first was tannin management: We had to to avoid creating a tannic monster because of Cabernet Sauvignon’s proclivity to harshness when it’s harvested at low yields. The second was blending: We had to craft the wine using different percentages of grapes from the vineyards where we normally source, because the crop loss varied from vineyard to vineyard.
The Champoux, Ciel du Cheval, Hedges, Klipsun, Taptiel, and Kiona vineyards provided grapes for our 1996 release. We also added 9 percent Merlot and for the first time ever, 6 percent Cabernet Franc, to soften the wine and add aromatic complexity. After 22 months in new French oak, and despite the adverse conditions at the beginning of the season, we made a wine that was complex and supple upon release, with flavors and aromas of black fruits, Asian spices, smoke, and vanilla. We produced 1,500 cases.
Paul Golitzin, Director of Winemaking