Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
The 2003 bottling from our vineyard is one of the first from any vineyard in the Red Hills appellation. Although there are few wines from which to draw a conclusion, the quality of this wine indicates that the climate is favorable for developing and preserving the distinctive flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon. Classic cedar and cassis handily identify this wine as a Cabernet, while the flesh and ripe sweetness of the cult California wine style sign off on this wine's new appellation. Most importantly, it is the huge tannic presence of the mountainous growing conditions that wins the argument; this is a Cabernet of substance, bearing and pedigree.
In 2003 we harvested the young vines on September 24th at 26.7 Brix, 3.75 pH and 5.2g/L titratable acidity. The de-stemmed must was fermented in open-top bins for two weeks and drained down to 50% new Budapesti Kadar barrels. The wine was aged 12 months and bottled in December 2004.
Obsidian Ridge Winery
Planted 2,600 feet high on the Mayacamas range north of Napa Valley, Obsidian ridge Vineyards grows mountain fruit. The steep slopes at this altitude are reddened by iron rich volcanic soils and littered with black shards of obsidian. Here in the Red Hills of Lake county the distinctive soils and mountain climate grow varietally vibrant and powerfully structured Cabernet Sauvignon.
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About Santa Cruz Mountains
The Santa Cruz Mountain appellation encompasses the land between Half Moon Bay in the north and Mount Madonna (just near Monterey) in the south. Producing wine since the early 1800's, some of these wineries have been around for quite some time, mingling their vineyard lands with the sprawling redwood forests.
Even though the climate can be challenging, and only 1500 acres are under vine, over 50 wineries still operate successfully – and produce successful wine. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay do well in this region, along with a few plots of Cabernet Sauvignon. Hills, valleys and forests generate multiple micro-climates, creating a diverse flavor among the wines.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.