The 2018 Rhône Blend shows fragrant aromas of black fruits with hints of coffee, earth and strawberry spice. A brambly, mouthfilling texture unfolds with flavors of black fruits, bing cherry and blueberry. Rounded acidity joins notes of vanilla and pepper on a smooth, lengthy finish.
The 35-acre Brick Barn estate vineyard lies just north of the Santa Ynez River in a largely unexplored winegrowing corridor near the city of Buellton in the western Santa Ynez Valley. Here, persistent sun exposure ensures depth of flavor, while the Pacific Ocean—just 10 miles away—delivers daily cooling that maintains fruit acidity and structure. Our Cabernet Franc is grown in a 2.6-acre block situated along an upper highland at an elevation of 550 feet. Here, rocky loam and limestone soils impart qualities of intensity and finesse. This block is planted entirely with Clone 332, which is prized for its sturdy tannins, beautiful spiciness and Bordeaux-style profile. Perhaps more than any other grape variety, Cabernet Franc exemplifies what is special about the terroir of the Brick Barn estate vineyard.
The fruit was harvested at night and delivered to the winery in the cool morning hours. The Grenache and Syrah lots were separately fermented in small open-top bins, with two punchdowns and one pumpover performed daily for balanced extraction and aeration. A portion of the Syrah underwent whole-cluster fermentation for added notes of spice. After gentle pressing, the lots were settled and racked to French oak barrels, where the Grenache and Syrah aged separately for 22 months. Thirty-percent of the barrels featured new oak for added complexity and dimension. At the conclusion of aging, Winemaker Adrian Bolshoi identified standout barrels; conducted several blending trials; and ultimately settled upon a deliciously symmetrical blend of Grenache and Syrah.
Food Pairing Notes
The robust character of the 2018 Rhône Blend makes a nice pairing for roast leg of lamb, hearty beef stew, grilled sausage and Santa Maria-style tri-tip.