VOLCANIC VINEYARD SITE Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is sits on a volcanic flow at
the northern tip of the Mayacamas Range at a half mile of elevation. Vines planted in
1999 on red volcanic soils shot with black obsidian are subject to an unforgiving,
mountain climate. Low humidity, cold night time temperatures, and ultraviolet
exposure 10% greater than at sea level all contribute to developing small grapes with
dark color, thick skins, and intense flavors.
THREE ELEVATION ZONES The estate is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon
across three climactic zones ranging from 2,300 to 2,640 feet. The uppermost portion
sits above the inversion layer on the steepest, rockiest slope, ten degrees warmer on
average than the lowest elevation of the vineyard. As a result, vines above 2,500’ bud
and ripen a month earlier and produce powerful, ripe flavors. The lower third of the
vineyard has the gentlest slope and the coolest temperatures, yielding wines that are
the most aromatic and nuanced. The central portion of the vineyard is the most
protected site, affording vines the longest hang time and yielding beautiful balance.
COMPONENT WINEMAKING The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon captures the
personality and verticality of this complex site. Eight vineyard blocks are harvested in
over 20 unique lots. Fermentation is completed in 8-10 days and wines are pressed
immediately to avoid over extraction of the skins.
HUNGARIAN BARRELS Obsidian wines are the only Cabernet Sauvignons in
California (perhaps the world) aged in 100% Hungarian oak barrels. Our source forest in
Tokaj is planted to the same oak species used in France, Quercus Petraea, however the
trees grow more slowly due to the volcanic soils, resulting in 30% higher density of the
wood. These super-tight-grain barrels are low in vanillan and relatively high in eugenol,
which tends to emphasize herbal and spice components, and are toasted slowly at low
temperatures to avoid imparting overt toasty notes. For this Estate bottling, we use
exclusively Kádár Tokaj barrels from our own cooperage, 40% new, aged 18 months.