Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Weather-wise, this was an easy vintage compared with 1996. There was no severe winter cold or spring frost, and in fact, we had almost identical heat units in our vineyards as we did in the excellent 1989 vintage. That meant we harvested all the grapes we expected and Champoux, Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, and Tapteil each yielded fruit in great condition.
However, because we continuously strive to improve with each vintage, we declassified 38 percent of the vintage and made it into a red table wine. Even though the quality of the declassified wine was such that we would have used it in previous vintages, this simple action made the 1,600 cases of our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon truly excellent.
The 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon blend has indeed evolved. We added 2 percent Cabernet Franc and 9 percent Merlot to create wine with an unctuous black raspberry liqueur essence, layered with the flavors and aromas of anise, smoke, and minerals. This wine is deceiving because it is massively proportioned yet intricate and supple, a rare combination that we believe is the true hallmark of a great wine. It should cellar well for more than 20 years.
Paul Golitzin, Director of Winemaking