Our first vintage from Pritchard Hill provided an excellent opportunity to observe and learn from what the vineyard had to teach us. The intensely rocky site promised optimal berry size, so we allowed the fruit to set and progress as it wanted to, with minimal thinning or other intervention.
Of the two clones planted, Clone 7 emerged as the star of this first vintage, effortlessly maturing to completion. It stopped growing at the right time and showed no ill effects from the unusually cool temperatures that persisted throughout most of the summer. When the heat finally spiked on the valley floor, our fruit took little notice, thanks to the altitude of the vineyard. The clusters hung well into October, ripening slowly but steadily on the brow of the hill.
Winemaking & Tasting Notes
Clones 7 and 337 were picked and fermented separately. Clusters were hand sorted and de-stemmed without the addition of sulphur and cold soaked for seven days. Only natural yeasts attended each small lot, with no inoculation for alcoholic or malolactic fermentation. Owing to high concentration of tannins in the thick skin of this mountain fruit, the wine was pressed and taken off the skins after a relatively short, 14-day maceration.
Although Clone 337 produced a wine of obvious quality, Clone 7 was simply spectacular. It is our pleasure to showcase that stand-alone achievement in the inaugural release of our Melanson Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 20 months in 100% French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
This mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Melanson Vineyard is savory, with a marked minerality derived from the rocky hillside. The ink-black fruit is concentrated and powerfully expressed. The structure of the wine is steely, with a wet-stone quality. It promises exceptional ageability.
Thomas Rivers Brown, Winemaker