In Asian philosophy, yin yang is the concept of complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole as part of a dynamic system. Not to get too Zen on you, but it does call to mind the 50/50 partnership of our Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Cabernet Sauvignon: rich, polished and powerful. Syrah: supple, fruit-forward and a little sassy. Quite different characteristics with these two but blend them in an equal marriage and you discover their complementary nature and off-the-charts chemistry. Our 2014 50/50 possesses the structure and dark fruit flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon and the softness and jammy fruit of Syrah, combining to present a delicious example of elegance and power in one glass. Aromas of blackberry preserves and plum accented with notes of sage and smoky spices will convince you that soul mates really do exist.
Our 2014 50/50 blend is comprised of four vineyards. Our San Lucas Vineyard, a primo spot that is located about equidistance from Hames Valley to the south and Mesa del Rio/Scheid to the north, is home to both Cabernet and Syrah. Here, the long, warm days and cool, breezy evenings produce lively reds that burst with ripe, fleshy fruit. The balance of the Cabernet hails from Hames Valley, aka Cab Country. Hames is characterized by a high day-to-night temperature differential, with a variation of up to 50° quite common. Lots of sunshine is a must for top-notch Cabernet, while the dramatic nighttime cooling helps to ensure balance in the fruit and maintain acidity. The balance of the Syrah is from Mesa del Rio and Scheid Vineyard, cool climate sites that are Syrah heaven, producing a wine with subtle spiciness, intensity and concentration. The 2014 growing season was our third perfect one in a row, with mild temperatures throughout the spring, a warm but not overly hot summer, and mild conditions that held until the last grape was picked. On the heels of the excellent 2012 and 2013 vintages, it exceeded our expectations in every way.
Using select yeast, the grapes were fermented in small one-ton lots in open-top fermenters. The firm cap of skins and seeds that bubble up and form on the surface during red fermentation were punched down three times per day for about two weeks to increase color and tannin extraction. The must was drained and then pressed to stainless steel tanks. After settling the heavy solids, the juice was racked clean to a combination of American, Hungarian and French small oak barrels for secondary fermentation and aging. Th e barrel lots were tasted monthly until 9 barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon and 9 barrels of Syrah were selected for inclusion in the final blend. After 18 months, the wine was bottled unfiltered to maintain the aromatic profile and tannin structure of the blend. After bottling, the wine was laid down for an additional 10 months prior to release.