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2015 Père de Famille
2015 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon shows its lineage clearly, while also expressing the conditions of the vintage. It’s a deep magenta through to the core. A knockout aroma of black currant and black cherry comes next, enhanced by bay leaf and thyme. Black olive notes share the stage with baking spices. Aromas of white flowers and red currants tease their way out with time in the glass. The palate impression is one of the early integration between the oak and grape tannins. The inclusion of Merlot and Petit Verdot helps create a seamless texture and extend the length of flavor on the palate. Expect 2015 Père de Famille to be delicious young, but to offer up to two decades of cellar life.
Père de Famille is our Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine from the Columbia Valley of Washington, but to stop the story here would say little of what it took for us to get to this far. Since 1997, the quest to produce the quintessential Washington Cabernet Sauvignon has sent us searching the state’s vineyard land, looking for parcels capable of contributing to our goal. To sum it up, nearly two decades of vineyard trials.
From the outset, Red Mountain was the focal point for sourcing Cabernet Sauvignon and remains to this day, the most important source for the variety that’s destined for Père de Famille. Over the years we added Merlot and Petit Verdot from the greater Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, and Walla Walla AVAs.
This quest for high-quality vineyard sites and growers led to two important discoveries. Firstly, when selected carefully, these varying sites created a wine greater than the total sum of its parts. Secondly, our goal of “designing” a wine that could combine the characteristics we most appreciate in a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon was enhanced by a greater diversity of sites. In any given vintage, some vineyards excel, and others fall short. By “cherry-picking” the best produce each season we’ve created a level of consistency we would otherwise not achieve.
The third year in a row with an early start to the season, 2015 started with a bang. The growers’ axiom of an early start to the season: “start early, finish early”. The 2015 season followed this rule to a tee, but the effect on the grapes, and eventually the wines, was markedly different from other early starting seasons. Unlike the typical uninterrupted heat experienced during the Washington growing season, 2015 saw far more warm-up and cool-down cycles than usual. The effect on grape development was more “usable” hours during the season, specifically more hours during the day when the temperature was neither too hot nor too cold to hinder grape development. The resulting wines show more flavor development, and most importantly, riper, softer tannins.