2014 Moraga Red
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes 

Another year of severe drought changed the timetable in the vineyard.  Higher-than-normal soil temperatures early in the year forced an early bud break and every other vine development landmark moved up accordingly.  Flowering and fruit set occurred nearly a month earlier than most years and we saw veraison in July, rather than August.  A series of monsoon systems moved up from Baja, California during July and august, creating a truly subtropical feel to the weather. A significant heat spell started September 12thand lasted until September 17th, pushing ripeness ahead of schedule.  In a very unusual set of circumstances, most of the Cabernet Sauvignon surged ahead of the Merlot and we started picking red grapes September 5th, one of the earliest starts on record for Moraga’s red grape harvest.  We were hit with another wave of high temperatures the latter part of September, which accelerated ripening and resulted in one of the most compact harvests we’ve ever experienced. 

We followed our normal protocol, picking each section of the vineyard as it reached optimal ripeness.  Fruit was sorted in the vineyard the day before picking. After picking, the clusters were hand-sorted, followed by the sorting of individual berries until nothing remained but perfect fruit.  Each lot was fermented separately utilizing native yeast.  The fermenting grapes were punched down up to seven times each day. All lots underwent a post-fermentation maceration to increase extraction and allow tannins to meld and soften. When the time was right, each fermenter was drained and the macerated grapes were gently pressed using a small basket press.  After pressing, the wine was aged for nearly two years in new French oak barrels.  The wine was bottled in mid-August 2015 and was bottle-aged for just shy of two years before release.   

The aroma of the wine nearly jumps out of the glass.  Signature notes of tobacco, briar, and tar balance the predominant cassis in the nose. This wine is dense and well-built, but lively and energetic.  Tannins are very firm, yet very fine, smooth, and supple.  Flavors of black cherry meld with blueberry sweet saddle leather, and pipe tobacco.  The tannins build to a very persistent finish.

Enjoy this exceptional wine from a very unique California estate with friends and family.

Scott Rich, Winemaker
Carlos Contreras, Vineyard Manager