We have been very fortunate to work with some redonkulous (because the term 'premium' is over used) Cabernet from the South Okanagan. Within a single vineyard, we pick from two separate sites. The sandier site creates wines that have gobs of fruit character (chocolate covered cherries seems to be the dominant note), and the site with more gravel creates wines with more subtlety and earth character.
In 2015, our Reserve Cab was made from the sandy site, as the smoking hot year (less smoking than 2017, ha!) lent itself to making big, fruity wines. From the slightly cooler (but still warm) 2016 vintage, we chose to make the Reserve from predominantly the gravel site. What you get is a nuanced Cabernet that still has plenty of fruit, but also a light leafiness with dried herbs.
The 2016 vintage started with our earliest budbreak yet, with most varieties budding out in early April. A warm spring had us thinking that we would begin harvesting as early as the beginning of August, but a rainy June and July brought things closer to normal (if there is such a thing). Harvest still began two weeks early, on August 22nd, but was a long and extended one as we didn't finish bringing in our last fruit until October 28th.
Milder temperatures during the heat of summer allowed us to have more gradual ripening than in 2015. This allowed the grapes to accumulate intense flavour without sugars skyrocketing. Our own vineyards suffered from poor weather during flowering, which resulted in a reduced crop. Our loss is your gain, as less crop usually means more concentration. The result is flavour packed wines that show elegance and moderate alcohol.