This 1998 Columbia Valley "old vines" cabernet sauvignon is produced from grapes that were planted in the 1970's. The grapes were harvested entirely from Champoux vineyard, formerly known as Mercer Ranch, along the Columbia River in southeastern Washington. The very warm growing season of 1998 gave incredibly ripe fruit of great richness and concentration.
The wine was pumped over and punched down three times per day in small stainless steel tanks. Average brix was "off the charts" with harvest running into the middle of October 1998. Average fermentation ranged from seven to ten days. After pressing and racking, the various lots were moved to new French chateau barrels for aging and maturation. In early July 2000, this wine was racked from barrel, assembled, and bottled unfined and unfiltered later that same month.
This 1998 "old vines" cabernet sauvignon is a powerful and worthy successor to 1995 and 1997 "old vines". Sadly, we were forced to declassify nearly one third of this "old vines" cabernet sauvignon into our 1998 "artist series" cabernet and are, therefore, short about 500 cases. Flavors of ripe raspberry and blackberry married with spicy, toasted oak and vanilla explode in the mouth! The color is deeply purple and the texture is concentrated and rich, yet supple. It will benefit greatly from additional cellaring, and with proper storage, should last fifteen years.