A Look Back: Kristina's Thoughts on the 2015 Vintage

  • Kristina Shideler

The 2015 Vintage: A Contemplative Review

Blind Tasting the 2015 Vintage

My husband pours blind tastings for me regularly for palate training and exposure, and tonight's selection was something special. As I put my nose in the glass my first thought was Coombsville (designated American Viticultural Area as of 2011 in southeastern Napa Valley), one of my favorite regions for Cabernet. It had powerful aromas of black slate and violet, and freshness and elegance on the palate while exhibiting the structure that makes a “serious Cabernet” type of statement. When my tricky husband revealed that the wine was the 2015 Arrowood Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I must admit that I was proud. 2015 was my first vintage as winemaker at Arrowood and it has taken four years to see my vision come to life in the glass. Cabernet winemaking is certainly a marathon and not a sprint!

2015 Cabernet Harvest - A Winemaker's Dream

Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting

Tasting this wine also makes me reflect upon the vintage itself and everything I know that went into it. Despite California at the peak of the drought, it was seemingly a Cabernet winemaker’s dream harvest – small berries, loose clusters, low yields. Managing ferments was a delicate balance of optimizing the generous concentration of the vintage while also respecting the subtleties that often define a vineyard’s expression. From grape picking decisions to barrel choices, I was obsessed with achieving that Bordelais elegance that really defines the Arrowood style. Although I was quite pleased with the quality throughout the vintage, it wasn’t until I sat down to finalize the blends that I realized how just how special 2015 really was. The tannins and harmony of this vintage have really benefited from our long barrel-aging program, and after an additional year in bottle, these are just singing.

The First of Many Incredible Vintages

Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyards

Every year I learn something new from these vineyards. The smart farming decisions made 20 years ago are really at the crux of what allows me to make excellent wine, and I feel very fortunate to work with vineyards where this was understood from the beginning by the people who developed and managed the land. This is a new chapter in the Arrowood story and I cannot wait to share these wines with all of you.

Cheers,

Kristina