Yes, the 2008 vintage (affectionately now known as the “wildfire vintage”) took us by firestorm (I know, cheesy pun). No one winemaker in the North Coast was immune to some challenging maturity schedules with such a moderate spring, but an extraordinary summer dry period, culminating with a significant amount of heat in the months of August and September, ensured our salvation.
One of the blessings we have is that with a small program such as ours, and with talented growers working with us in the mountains with their small ranches, looking at the vineyard row by row, and even vine by vine, we were able to manage literally every plant (as impossible as it may seem). I would liken this care and attention to herding cats on a hot, sandy beach. You might ask how we could do such a thing…..Catskills! But honestly? Leaf canopy manipulation and very conscientious irrigation (to give those babies a drink at the correct time) was really the difference in our program in 2008. While some folks were lamenting about prunes turning to raisins, we were dancing lightly on our feet, and skipping around the vineyard coaxing in the upper-elevation breezes (cooling type that is).
The glorious 2008 vintage was one of the smallest in our long wine career. From top to bottom, start to finish, we knew that we were facing a small, but high quality crop. Early indications showed few fruitful buds and Mother Nature had her way with us……..I think in an effort to prevent greed from setting in. No worries. Not only was the crop smaller but the berries were smaller. Normally, for most farming endeavors, this would be a difficult pill to swallow, but for our hillside winemaking with a singular goal of making elegant, long-lived wine, this was literally a God-send. Our benefit (or your benefit) is a very highly-structured, powerful, long-lived monster. I use this term “monster” with a timid piety, as well as a jaundiced eye, because our monsters are more cuddly and complex than most (kind of like the Sesame Street cookie monster washing down his Oreos with Bordeaux……….).
That said, this may be the most robust and age-worthy wine we’ve made in a decade….almost similar to the 1992 vintage upon release. The flavors are evolving like “monsters”, so let’s go there and hold on the cookies for now. (this guy will age well for a long, long time).
The 2008 vintage is very condensed, both organoleptically and quantitatively…….only 700 six packs will be bottled (same a350, 750ml- cases).
“Oh no!” you might gasp. But for quality, we want to go for small volumes. The 2008 TE is unique in many ways, including the fact that we tickled the blend of Cabernet with 7% Petite Verdot from Pritchard Hill. With the immensely violet floral addition, the very masculine and robust beast has been tamed. For the most part the 2008 is a quintessential balance between Stagecoach (Atlas Peak), Spanos-Berberian (Pritchard Hill), and Meteor (Mt. St. George). The appropriate color and thick tannins from Stagecoach, with the background silkiness from Pritchard Hill and the classic ripe blackberry from Mt. St. George marries the 2008 into longevity and regal structure. TE