Monday, June 12, 2006

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Ink Grade Vineyard Howell Mountain

No, there is no mistake, we are talking about the 2006 vintage! This is another wine that we are making with Crushpad, the community winery located in San Francisco. We enjoyed making the 2004 Syrah Clary Ranch Vineyard so much that we decided to make another wine with Crushpad, a Cabernet Sauvignon this time. The wine is in the planning phase now and the first thing that we had to choose was a source for our grapes. We selected the Ink Grade Vineyard in the Howell Mountain AVA.

Located northeast of the town of St. Helena, the Howell Mountain AVA is characterized by hillside vineyards at an elevation ranging from 1,600 feet to 2,200 feet just above the fog level. Thanks to the elevation and the lack of fog, the temperatures are cooler during the day and warmer at night than in the valley floor, allowing grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon to fully ripen every year and produce wines that are concentrated and structured.

Ink Grade is a beautifully terraced 200-acre vineyard of mountainous terrain high above the valley floor. Planted in 1990, the vineyard provides fruits to a few premium Napa wineries including Behrens & Hitchcock.

Our goal is to produce a rich and well-balanced wine, hopefully not too alcoholic, with enough acidity and tannins to age well. This is reflected in our winemaking plan that we made with Kian Tavakoli, Director of Winemaking at Crushpad, which defines target Brix and pH levels, type of yeast, cap management, type of barrel etc. Of course, there are tough questions that are difficult to answer right now: should we add some acid to the fermenting must to increase the acidity level, should we add water to dilute the sugars and lower the alcohol level?

In the meantime, we may be able to visit the vineyard soon and take some pictures so stay tuned...

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John said...

How is your 2006 Ink Grade cab coming along? We are going to making a 2007 IG cab via Crushpad. We visited Neal Family Vnyd in April and tasted a barrel lot from Ink Grade that they will probably be using for a blend (Neal also is the vnyd management co. that handles Ink Grade and many other Napa properties)-- it was, well, inky... and awesome! Good luck.

Catherine Granger said...

I just tasted the wine: Winemaking step #7: barrel tasting and I am very pleased with it. Good luck with your wine project!