2006 has proven to be an excellent vintage for Cabernet at Rubicon Estate. Despite heavy rain that occurred in the spring, budbreak occurred just slightly later than normal with no vine damage at all. Fruit set occurred under optimum conditions. Fortunately, summer temperatures peaked early, in mid-July, helping to reduce the vigor and setting the stage for a measured, gradual development of the fruit. In fact, even as September drew to an end, temperatures remained mild well into October, which allowed us to delay picking even longer. Because nature never forced our hand, the grapes had several extra weeks to mature. The resulting fruit displayed uniform ripeness without the high sugar levels that happen in really hot years.
We took a gentle approach to the winemaking, allowing the must to cold soak for a period of four days prior to the onset of fermentation. Once the cap had risen, both punch-downs and pump-overs were made to optimize extraction. The majority of the musts were left on the skins for as long as 24 days to complete dryness. A portion of these macerations were gently warmed to 88 degrees Fahrenheit after fermentation to fully extract and complex the abundant tannin and anthocyanin (color). The result was impressively round and complex wines right out of the fermentor. The new wines were moved to 80% new French Oak barrels for 22 months.
Our 2006 Rubicon reflects the extended growing conditions of the vintage, displaying an elegant lusciousness of flavor as well as a long, round finish. The harmonious character of the vintage is augmented by the more classic impression of weight and fresh precision of the fruit. It is a vintage that offers much complexity and will repay aging, but is already balanced and integrated.