2008 was characterized by a cool long growing season marked with maximum temperatures in the mid-80’s. The Brigden vineyard had a very nice crop set, but due to the cool temperatures it was clear that the fruit would not ripen in the quantities that the vines carried. While it was distressing to reduce the fruit load, the vineyard owner, Michael Brigden, agreed to drop half the fruit in the vineyard and reduce the clusters to one for every shoot position. This had the intended effect of allowing the remainder of the fruit to develop intense flavors.
The fruit was harvested on October 23. It was destemmed, crushed and placed into a closed top tank for three days of chilling. At that point it was inoculated with yeast. The wine fermented for 10 days at moderate temperatures and was left on the skins after fermentation for 16 days of extended maceration. This resulted in added richness and mouth feel, while preserving the intense aromatics that have characterized previous vintages. The wine was gently pressed just before Thanksgiving, settled in tank overnight and put to barrel, where it aged for nearly two years. All French oak was used – approximately 40% new.
The resulting wine has that classic Spring Mountain floral character with intense blueberry-like fruit, with highlights of chocolate and anise. It has a lively palate and an amazingly long finish that lingers on the palate for minutes. This wine is a great balance between the two counties, bringing forward the fruit and aromas of Sonoma Cabernets while offering the dark tones and structure of some of the more balanced Napa Cabernets. While it is enjoyable now, we think it will cellar well for many years.