Aromas of currant, blueberry, violets and pipe tobacco lead into cascading flavors of plum, black cherry, chocolate and loam. With round structured tannins, this cabernet hangs on the palate with a smooth, lingering finish.
The Monterey AVA is the largest wine region within Monterey County, stretching almost the entire length of the county, from east of Monterey Bay to just north of Paso Robles, and offering a range of favorable soil and climate combinations.
Grapes were harvested from Indian Valley Vineyards, a property located at the southern end of the Monterey AVA, but adjacent the San Miguel district of the Paso Robles AVA. Approximately 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the vineyard experiences warm, dry summers with occasional heat spikes. A break in the coastal range allows a marine layer to move inland each afternoon, providing the cool evenings and nights (slightly warmer than Paso Robles) that help develop balanced grape acidity.
Planted in 2000, the vineyard has ten acres of Cabernet Sauvignon Clones 7 and 15, five acres of Cabernet Franc Clones 332 and 312, and five acres of Merlot Clone 181. It lies on rolling hills reaching 4-500 feet of elevation with soils composed of clay loam, gravel and sandy loam. These quick-draining soils combine with extremely dry conditions (only 12 inches of rain annually) to create beneficial vine stress that results in dark-skinned, intensely flavored fruit.
Sporadic rain fell in early 2009 with 50% of seasonal totals occurring in March. It was the third straight drought year and temperatures were slightly below norm. Budbreak was delayed until mid-March while April saw successful bloom and fruit set. April, May and early June showed foggy mornings and below average temperatures, but the latter reached triple digits in mid-June. The spike launched a cycle of two scorching weeks followed by 7–10 cool days through most of July, August and September. Seasonable cool mornings and warm days returned in late September, but the vestiges of a Japanese typhoon dropped 3–4 inches of rain on some vineyards. We harvested most of our fruit during the clear three-week period following the storm, and were quite pleased with the results: small berries with good skin color that translated to rich, dark wines.