This is the first vintage we have bottled from a small vineyard near the town of Occidental on the Sonoma Coast that we planted in 1995. It was well worth the years of effort because this cool climate produces fruit with rich, distinctive flavors. So as not to overwhelm the fresh, varietal richness of the fruit, harvested October 5-16, we aged the wine for just nine months in French oak barrels, 60 percent of them new and the balance one to three years old. The wine aromas include scents of cherry and cola with underlying notes of new oak and caramel. In the mouth, the entry is dominated by strawberry and cherry flavors. Sweet strawberry and caramel qualities carry the wine through to a fruity/sweet finish with full, ripe tannins. The wine is lush, but throughout it is underlined with balancing acidity and toasty oak. The finish is long and mouthwatering.