2019 Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Red Hills Lake County California USA
The Estate Cabernet is the signature wine of Obsidian Ridge 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. Aromas of freshly-cut red cherries with hints of cinnamon and spice. Flavors of mulberry and plum, woven with dried oregano and chapparal, are supported by a rich texture of fine, leathery tannins. Notes of star anise, cinnamon, and orange peel inspire pairing with Meditteranean dishes. Fresh acidity keeps the wine lively on the finish.
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.
The estate cabernet sauvignon captures the personality and verticality of this complex site. Eight vineyard blocks are harvested in over 20 unique lots. 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 18 months.