winemaker notes from the woot plus deal: winemaker notes: Here's the scoop on the 2006 Lodi Cab Sauv. I first released this wine in 2010. This wine has often been called the Poor Man's Crucible, because it's so stylistically similar - basically a Pauillac: very solid structure, deep but refined tannins, cassis and blueberry. Part of the reason is it has 9% of the 2006 Crucible in it, which adds quite a bit of stuffing. The rest is Jim Peterson's lovely Cab Sauv from northern Lodi - the core of the Niebaum Coppola Claret and among the best vineyards in Lodi.
After making this blend in November of 2006, I immediately took the wine through a one month course of Phase One MicroOxygenation (see chapter 3 of my book) which has quite counterintuitive effects, stabilizing its structure, fixing color, and augmenting its reductive strength.
Since the 2010 bottling seemed a little undeveloped, I got curious about its potential in wood, and I elected to hold back a few neutral barrels of this wine to see how much age it would take and what would happen. Amazingly, the wine continued to improve and develop layers and nuances until I finally bottled it this summer, after fully 78 months of barrel aging!
The wine is by no means woody. It does have amazing aromatic complexity, and is now less austere than most Pauillacs, more like a Rioja in style. Or you could say its development is similar to what happens to Vintage Port when it is left a few extra years in wood and has some development it can't really get in the bottle. Besides the continuing background of blueberry and cassis that has always constitutes the core aromatic, now we have nuances of dried flowers, bay, cedar, tobacco, Romano and Asian spice around the edges.
I'm so happy I did this experiment, which really shows that challenging a wine early with oxygen really adds to its ageworthiness and potential for development. The wine also shows what great potential Lodi has for making world class Cabernet Sauvignon if a little restraint is employed in the making.