The inviting aromas of black raspberry, savory spice and sweet tobacco ring true on the lush palate. Flavors of raspberry, clove spice and smoked charcuterie stand alongside the firm backbone this wine offers from the cool climate growing region of the Benoist Ranch. The French oak aging of this wine integrates and smoothes the tannins, creating a creamier texture. The wine is well-balanced with bright acidity and offers crushed rock minerality on the lingering finish.
Despite drought conditions, the 2014 vintage proved to be ideal, with excellent quality reminiscent of 2012. The winter was one of the driest on record in California, but substantial rains in early spring were timely and set up the vines for a strong start. Summer temperatures were milder than expected with no extremes, and after early bud break and veraison, harvest was unusually early in 2014.
After primary fermentation, the wine is drained from the skins and sent to barrel the next day. The malolactic fermentation occurs in the barrels and lasts for a month enabling us to retain all of the fruit character from the vineyard and develop richness and integration with the oak components. The wine was aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels with 35% of those barrels being new.