Charles and Charles · Bolt Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
BOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON
The wine is led with dark chocolate, black cherry, melted licorice, alder, forest floor, cassis, and cigar box. On the palatte it’s chewy and dark, but not heavy and soupy. It has a lot of energy to it; a really vibrant, raw, honest Cabernet.
While 2020 was a complicated vintage for many on the west coast, we were blessed and dodged most of the challenges resulting in an A+ Cabernet Sauvignon vintage. Bud break was mid-April which is normal and there was some extreme heat in July and August that tends to happen these days. Everything was trending toward an early harvest but then the fires kicked up in Oregon (and California). Mercifully we were not impacted by the fire, but the smoke from the Oregon fires blew north and blocked out the sun for about 10 days pushing back the start of picking, and stretching out the hang time, which we love. By the end of October, the fruit was just perfect, and we brought it all in. The crop was quite small with tiny, concentrated berries that delivers an unusually intense and structured red wine vintage.
We have been waiting for the right vintage to make a straight Cabernet Sauvignon and decided that the small, concentrated berries this vintage made it the perfect year to start. All the fruit for this wine comes from sustainably farmed Goose Mountain vineyards which is a spectacular vineyard contiguous with the renowned Red Mountain AVA (though we think our fruit is better!). The higher elevation and steeper slopes mean cooler nights and poorer soils relative to Red Mountain, which is ideal for world class grape growing. The Cabernet Sauvignon was de-stemmed and then fermented with native yeast, followed by the wine being on its skins for 35 days (fermentation being about half that time). We make this wine without any intervention to preserve the honesty and integrity of the fruit and place. We had access to some beautiful Goose Mountain Syrah that we thought would add complexity and spice. We fermented the Syrah with native yeast and whole cluster and blended it together with the Cabernet Sauvignon right before we blended and moved all the wine to old barrels. In the barrels, we were looking to soften and concentrate, not to add toast and vanilla thus the choice of used neutral barrels. The resulting wine has intense black currant, espresso, black olive, and dusty herbs with broad shouldered structure.
All the fruit is largely grown on the Goose Mountain portion of the Goose Ridge Ranch in the Columbia Valley, AVA. The soils for this beauty of a vineyard are composed of alluvial sands deposited by the Missoula Floods that sit over volcanic soils deeper beneath. The ranch is contiguous with the Red Mountain AVA which many consider to be the premiere Washington Cabernet Sauvignon spot though of course we would argue that the cooler, hillside location of our fruit is superior. You can be the judge.
We believe that in additional to being visually striking, a label should set the tone for what the wine tastes like. We are very proud of the low intervention and high integrity approach to our winemaking and wanted the label to reflect the pure, raw, natural power of the process and resulting wine. We feel that the lightning bolt perfectly captures the essence of the naturally made, pure, and bold red wine.
About 15,000 years ago the Columbia Valley was flooded by a series of ice age floods that deposited silt and sand over the entire area. The sediments deposited by the floods now make up the area’s present-day sandy and gravelly soils. These conditions are ideal for grapevines and fruit development and allow all our vineyards to be planted on their own roots. The northerly latitude means more sunlight during the growing months which allows extended phenolic development, embodying unusual texture and naturally soft tannins. Large diurnal swings (30+ degrees on average between high and low temperatures).
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