2004 was a challenging but highly successful vintage for the Santa Cruz Mountains. A heat spike in early September forced us to re-evaluate our traditional cool-climate viticultural practices. Hard work and patience allowed us to adapt to growing conditions that were more like Napa or Sonoma than Santa Cruz Mountains. Beautiful weather during most of our “ripening zone” led to miniscule yields of intensely flavored fruit.
Gist Ranch, our new Estate vineyard, is located about 14.5 miles south-east of the Fogarty winery. The vineyard features steep slopes perched at well over 2000 ft. of elevation. The rocky soils are low in nutrients and well-drained perfect for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The site features a mix of French clones and low-vigor rootstocks combined with tighter spacing to accentuate the characteristics of our mountain climate. At 2200 feet, this is one of the highest new plantings of Cabernet and Merlot in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
After hand harvest, the ripe Cabernet Sauvignon fruit was fermented in small, open-top tanks ranging in size from .5 to 2 tons. Elevage was comprised of 22 months in 40% new French Oak with three to four rackings a year. At bottling we blended in 13% Gist Ranch Merlot to soften the tannins and add length.
Explosive fruit and spice elements on the nose are indicative of the hedonistic nature of our ’04 Gist Cab. Black spice, cocoa and sweet cherries dominate the nose. The richness and luscious fruit character of the vintage is clearly evident along with mouth-filling tannins and great depth of flavor. More black fruits accompany the rich and luxurious finish. Drinks well now (with a vigorous decant), but should continue to evolve over the next 10-15 years.
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