The Global Tasting Initiative is Back!Head to the Snooth forums to participate in the all-new Global Tasting Initiative, where Snooth users all offer notes on a theme varietal. Right now, we're chatting about Cabernet Sauvignon; join the thread to make your voice heard and get great Cab recommendations from fellow wine lovers.
This technique adds a certain freshness to the aromatic profile of the finished wines as it tends to slow down the pace at which the fermenting must generates heat, but it also has the side benefit of improving drainage through the cap of pomace that forms on the fermenting must. In addition, the fact that the grapes are not subjected to the stresses of crushing and destemming ensures that no bitter tannins are released from cracked or bruised seeds.
Of course the stems add tannin to the finished wine, but only clusters with physiologically ripe stems (and grapes of course) are used for this addition. The ripe stems add flavor to the wine as well, giving them layers of nuanced complexity that a simpler fermentation can’t offer.
Once the wines have gone through their initial alcoholic fermentation they are racked into French oak barrels to complete their malolactic fermentation. The Chardonnay on the other hand is barrel fermented, again in French oak, and allowed to rest on the lees for almost a year, allowing the wines to gain that trademark layered complexity and develop a round, enticing mouthfeel before being bottled.
Patz & Hall really are able to capture something special in their wines and unlike many single-vineyard bottlers, each vineyard designated wine has a unique character that speaks as much about the winemaker as it does about the soils from which it sprung. These are certainly wines worth looking for, made in a style that seems to be a middle ground toward which many of the finest producers have gravitated over the past decade: Richly-fruited and noticeably oaked, yet with balanced complexity and depth.
Continue reading for my favorites from Patz & Hall's killer line-up.