The 2015 harvest season was the fourth year of drought. The cluster counts were above average with overall yields below average - which means each cluster was smaller than usual. These small, compact clusters of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in RSV’s organically farmed Carneros vineyards developed deep flavor and beautiful structure. The grapes were harvested at night, then de-stemmed and crushed before fermenting on native or feral yeast. Delicate cap irrigation and punch down was employed during fermentation before the wine was put to rest in French oak barrels (30% new) for almost two years. It was blended by taste, then bottled where it rested for another two to three years before release.
Deep blackberry and blueberry fruit notes with fresh picked herbs, bramble and forest floor lead to an aromatic bouquet that is shy at first and opens with a swirl in the glass. The first sip explodes with flavor, revealing the intensity of optimally ripened fruit. The wine balances juicy red and black fruit like Santa Rosa plum, black cherry, black/blueberry, cassis and strawberry jam with baking spice nuances of star anise, cardamom and allspice and a touch of bay leaf and mocha. Tightly woven structure is balanced by mouth watering acidity and supple tannins that make it ideal for not just the the obvious grilled or roasted meats or rich, creamy cheese and charcuterie, but also poultry, pork, root vegetables and mushrooms. The wine encourages the adventurous to experiment with food and wine.