The 2008 growing season was year of extremes, beginning with intense storms that brought rain and high winds, but the precipitation soon waned and for the second year in a row, less than 60% of normal rainfall was received. The spring season was one of the driest on record. The dry soils prompted grapevines to push out early, just as frigid, dry air in early spring created conditions for the deepest and longest frost period in three decades, against which our wind machines proved ineffective. The Cabernet grapes were not spared by the frosts, which caused a loss of over 20% of the normal crop. The vines produced a small canopy in response to the lack of soil moisture, while enduring an early heat spike at bloom. A cooler summer ensued, allowing the naturally resilient vines to focus on ripening their small crop in the mild temperatures. After the early start to the growing season, the Eisele Vineyard harvest began slightly earlier than normal, with the first block of Cabernet harvested on September 11th and the final grapes picked on October 1st. The fruit was sorted, de-stemmed and cold-soaked, undergoing native yeast fermentations and long macerations in small stainless steel and concrete tanks. The wine was aged in 100% new French oak barrels for 26 months and bottled in December 2010.
This wine exudes heady aromas of black currant, blackberry and dark plum, enhanced by touches of anise, smoke, cinnamon and cola. In the mouth, the fruit notes are pure cassis spiced with nutmeg and sarsaparilla, leading to more earthy notes of loam, graphite and espresso. The wine is dense and concentrated but balanced, its core sweetness embraced by firm but silky tannins; the wine seems to dance across the palate into a lingering finish of spice and minerals. Notes winemaker Françoise Peschon: Beginning with soft creaminess on the attack, becoming powerful and rich in the mouth, and finishing with a supple sweetness, there is tension in this wine that holds your interest throughout. It is a wine of power, persistence and grace.
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is breathtaking. Everything is in the right place in this dazzling, superb Cabernet Sauvignon. Layers of dark fruit, plums, camphor, licorice and espresso emerge from this effortless, gracious wine. - Dec ‘11
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