The nutrients and water from this vineyard encourages vines to develop Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with complex, concentrated flavors of luscious blackberry fruit, dark chocolate and spice. As one of our new Select Vineyard Series wines–the top tier of our Woodbridge portfolio-- Cabernet Sauvignon comes from vineyards with great personality, balance and structure. Because of the quality of the grapes, Winemaker David Akiyoshi took extra steps to develop their attributes, including four weeks of extended skin contact and a full 15 months of aging in small oak barrels. A large percentage of new oak barrels added delicious nuances of vanilla and toasty oak from the aromas to the lingering finish.
This vintage was a great one for Cabernet. The growing season in Lodi gave us everything we wanted: warmth early in the spring to promote vine development, and cool temperatures late in the year to retain grape acidity and balance. We thinned the Cabernet grape clusters to encourage the vines to ripen a smaller amount of fruit to the highest quality, and it paid off with superb fruit development and flavor concentration. Cabernet Sauvignon, usually the last grape variety to ripen, wraps up harvest. We began crushing grapes at our winery on August 8, and had finished the Lodi grape harvest by October 20. The last gondola of grapes arrived from the Central Coast on November 7.
The Jahant District in the Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA) has both sandy and clay loam soils, with some areas appearing rusty red from high iron content. The high mineral content and lean soils of these vineyards influence flavors in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. One of the shining stars in the blend is our Twin Oaks Vineyard, which has received awards for sustainable agriculture practices that protect the environment. Favoring the synergy between Lodi and Central Coast fruit, David chose to add grapes from Monterey County.
Fermentation & Aging
During winemaking, Select Vineyard Series wines receive special attention, including longer skin contact and longer aging than our classic Woodbridge wines. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were gently crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. As with all Woodbridge wines, each vineyard lot was kept separate until blending so that we could determine the best winemaking procedures for each vineyard. For this vintage, the wines received an average of four weeks' extended skin contact after fermentation to naturally soften the tannins and develop varietal complexity. After gentle pressing, the wines were transferred to small French and American oak barrels (30% new) for 15 months of aging. A small amount of Merlot was added to enhance the soft, fruity character.