A hedonistic nose rife with rich dark fruits and dusted with dark chocolate displays hints of violets and mild white pepper. The medium-bodied palate is generous with vanilla, ripe blackberry and spice, smoothly transitioning into a finish of soft toasted oak, pie cherry and well-rounded tannins.
Acknowledging cabernet sauvignon as the most famous of the five grapes used to make red wine in Bordeaux, “siblings” merlot, malbec, cabernet franc and petit verdot have the stuffing and structure to stand on their own as varietal wines when properly cultivated and fermented. Petit verdot bears a slight resemblance to its “big brother”, cabernet sauvignon, but the contrasts in aroma and flavor are what make it interesting for a winemaker to bottle and enjoy.
Planted in 1980, Lewis Vineyard is situated east of Lodi at 600 feet above sea level in the Clements Hills AVA. It lies on the banks of the Mokelumne River in well-drained rocky red soils, and has a mostly dry climate with warm-to-hot days and cool evenings produced by regular breezes from the Sacramento River delta. The close proximity to the river maintains low overnight temperatures, resulting in bright acidity that merges with rounded tannins and full flavors in the finished wines.
Sporadic rain fell in early 2009 with 50% of seasonal totals occurring in March. It was the third consecutive drought year and temperatures were slightly below normal. Budbreak was delayed until mid-March while A pril 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 heat spike launched a cycle of two scorching weeks followed by 7–10 cool days through most of July, A ugust and September. Seasonable cool mornings and warm days returned in late S eptember, 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.