• 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
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2013 was one of the driest years on record in Mendocino. While we had water in our Philo ponds from the Fall 2012 rains, we received almost no rain in the Spring of 2013. In Talmage, where Berry Vineyards and the Rattlesnake Canyon field for Navarro's Cabernet is located, rainfall was only about ten inches. Not only did this water stress reduce the size of the crop but it also reduced the size of the berries. Small berries have a lower ratio of juice to skins and seeds. When we pressed the 2013 Cabernet we experienced one of the lowest yields, measured in gallons per ton, that we've ever encountered with red varietal grapes. It's interesting that American winemakers usually talk about tons of grapes per acre whereas our European winemaker friends generally speak about hectoliters of wine per hectare.

[above] Jim repairing a tank temperature sensor and controller on an open-top red fermentor. A good winemaker needs to have a wide assortment of skill sets in remote Philo.
Chris and Ulises pushing Cabernet skins back into the fermenting must. [below] Although punching-down Cab is more time consuming than using a pump, we prefer the more supple tannins that result.

This is one of those vintages where the European terminology better illustrates what happens to the vines in drought conditions. After harvest the Cab grapes were destemmed into open-top fermentors which we punched down twice daily to keep the tannins supple and our biceps strong. The must was pressed after a two week fermentation and the wine racked to barrels to finish both the primary and secondary fermentations and to age for two years in barrel. There is deep intensity to this vintage without the wine being over-extracted. A green olive-herbal character, created by Mendocino's cold nights, combines with fruit-driven flavors suggesting black cherry and currants as well as a little vanilla from the French oak barrels. Gold Medal winner.

  • Harvested: Oct. 2 & 3, 2013
  • Sugars at harvest: 25.5° Brix
  • Bottled: Aug. 18, 2015
  • Cases produced: 969
  • Alcohol: 13.7%
  • Titratable acidity: 6.7 g/L
  • pH: 3.84