I showcased three vintages of my Signature Cabernet Sauvignon at one of my tasting events recently to highlight the differences Mother Nature can impart on Dry Creek Valley Cabernet.
2011 was from the summer that never came, 2012 was the "perfect season" and 2013 was an early harvest and a warm, dry growing season. The Signature is always Dry Creek Valley fruit. It can come from various vineyards and since 2011, has been 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
These three Cabernet's are remarkably different. From lean in 2011 to plush in 2013; there's something for every Cabernet lover in this line-up.
While tasting the vertical of Signature with customers, I was asked more often than not, "Which is your favorite?". Signature has always been my project; blending from various fruit sources in Dry Creek Valley, trying not to be just another Cab that tastes like blackberries and spice. I don't think I have a favorite, what I have are three very different wines:
2011 Signature: For my palate, the 2011 tastes best with beef, plain and simple. When I'm having steak, be it rib-eye or New York, the 2011 shines brightest. Lower alcohol and higher acid is the perfect pairing with rich beef. The 2011 has been showing better each year since release, gradually maturing with its peak still a few years off. Think Bordeaux, not Napa or Sonoma Cab.
2012 Signature: The 2012 pairs best with lamb. Where the 2011 is more about minerality and austerity, the 2012 is more about macerated fruit, plums and roasted nuts. The 2012 has gone through the most changes since bottling, a moving target of flavors that have paired well with pasta initially, to burgers and pizza last year, to grilled and stewed lamb today. Something about the pronounced flavors of lamb are hitting the spot with the 2012 Signature.
2013 Signature: The 2013 is all about elegant, sexy, smooth drinkability. The 2013 seems to get consumed before dinner hits the table. I picked the 2013 fruit several weeks earlier than 2012, and not all at the same time. Layering of flavors, chewy tannins, full palate smoothness and a lingering palate have contributed to the early drinkability of this wine.
The Signature Cabernet is the only wine I hold back in inventory and release date. I want to show the evolution of style, the effects of weather, and what cellar time does to change the wine. The 2014 is already in the bottle, the 2015 is in the barrel and I'm looking to my trials on the 2015 as the 6th vintage in the series.
I'll continue to write about the evolution of the Signature wine from personal tastings and interaction with customers.