{ Red Experiment R8.3 }

Tasting Note

. . .
2013 Red Experiment R8.3 wine label

{ Background and Aims }

Of the many choices one has when a vineyard is planted, rootstock selection is perhaps the most important. Rootstock is the translator of soil to vine, and we selected one – 3309 rootstock – best suited to the ground it is planted in and the varietal that will be grafted onto it. The 3309 rootstock is widely used and regarded in the Napa Valley and is planted in two of our vineyard blocks on Pritchard Hill. It is known to have moderate vigor and produces small, intense berries that have soft, round tannins. While creating this blend, we focused on this rootstock and evaluated the profile that 3309 lends to its resulting wines.

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{ Methodology }

On September 16, we harvested the Cabernet Sauvignon planted on 3309. Then, 17 days later, we harvested the Cabernet Franc on 3309. Both blocks were fermented in small concrete tanks and then aged for 13 months in barrel. We composed a blend of the two and aged it for an additional 7 months in barrel before bottling.

{ Conclusion }

This blend confirmed to us that varieties planted on 3309 produce wines with great concentration and burnished tannins – quite delicious. But the more interesting result of this Experiment came during the growing season as we observed the water use behavior of 3309. It tends to be relatively drought-resistant, but our site really challenges that capability. In our soils, it cruised along late into the season and then decreased water use sharply as it ran out. For us, this meant that 3309 was best suited to our least rocky soils. Additionally, we learned that the best results come when it’s paired with a varietal that doesn’t exacerbate this behavior: Cabernet Sauvignon on 3309 in spots with the most soil will yield the best results.