A vertical taste through Halter Ranch’s Cabernets

Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Tasting

During the month of August our Wine Club members are offered a special complimentary Cabernet Sauvignon vertical tasting in our Member Lounge. The vertical allows members to sample three very different wines from Halter Ranch’s winemaking history.

More than a third of all vines planted in Paso Robles are Cabernet Sauvignon and our vineyard mirrors that statistic with 104 of our 281 acres of vines planted with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is an integral part of what we do; from our by-the-glass Synthesis, to our mighty Ancestor Reserve, the rich forward fruit, color and tannin structure of Cabernet Sauvignon paired with its deep back palate wow us every year.

In order to show off this grape we love, we have pulled from our library the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon vintages. The 2008 vintage made by our previous Winemaker Bill Sheffer, the 2010 was begun by Bill and finished by current Halter Ranch Winemaker Kevin Sass, and the 2012 which is Kevin’s wine from start to finish. The three Cabernet’s are very different, due to winemaking style, age, fruit and harvest conditions.

A few notes about the vintages, in 2008 yields were down in Cabernet Sauvignon and related varietals due to an early Spring frost, causing small cluster sets and some shatter. The low yields however did produce some great wine. In 2010 Paso Robles experienced a winter with above average rainfall after three years of drought. Growers had to manage fruit/vine ratio and mildew pressure during the cooler year. In 2012 there were three weeks of extreme heat in late August and early September, bringing harvest forward by almost two full weeks. The fruit quality was high with round and robust flavors.


2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – 15.1% Alcohol

81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec, 3% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc

Fermentation: Destemmed and fermented in closed-top fermenters, with punch-downs or pump-overs twice daily for 21 days.

Aging: Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 30% of which are new.

Lounge Tasting Note

Though it is blended with all five ‘Noble Bordeaux’ grapes, this wine is truly a classic ‘Paso Cab’ it’s huge fruit, bold tannins, and bright acidity can stand up to the bloodiest of steaks. Winemaker Bill Sheffer sought to highlight the beautiful back palate of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, resulting in deep flavors of sage, earth, and chaparral.

Winemakers Tasting Note

Blended with traditional Bordeaux varieties our Cabernet Sauvignon is dark ruby in color and deeply concentrated with aromas of blackcurrant and blackberry, interwoven with earth, sage, and spice. Big, ripe and juicy on the palate, its mouth-filling blackcurrant and dark plum flavors are balanced by round, supple tannins that guide the wine through a long, rich and smooth finish. Drink now or in the next two years, with grilled steak and lamb, prime rib, venison stew and other hearty meat dishes.


2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – 15% Alcohol

77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 11% Merlot

Fermentation: Destemmed and fermented in closed-top fermentors, with punch-downs and pump-overs twice daily for 20 days.

Aging: Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% of which were new.

Lounge Tasting Note

Our last to feature the softening influence of Merlot, this wine was made as a collaboration between winemakers. Bill’s bolder, age-worthy style was quieted by Kevin’s delicate and fruit driven ethos. The result is an elegantly structured wine with soft integrated tannins and a smooth, rich finish.

Winemakers Tasting Note

This vintage is crimson red with a light purple hue. Deeply concentrated, this wine displays aromas of blackberry brambles, black currant, fig and a touch of cocoa. The attack on the palate is driven by an explosion of red and black fruit, framed by elegant structure. Soft integrated tannins guide this beautiful wine through a smooth, rich finish. Delicious now with grilled steak and lamb, prime rib, venison stew and other hearty meat dishes, it will age beautifully for another two to five years.


2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – 14.5% Alcohol

79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot

Fermentation: Destemmed and fermented in closed top fermentors, with open pump-overs two to three times daily for an average of 10 days.

Aging: Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 40% of which were new.

Lounge Tasting Note

After the frost and challenging nature of the 2011 vintage, 2012 was Kevin Sass’ first great growing season with Halter Ranch. The hot Summer and Fall led to a beautifully expressive nose of dark red fruit matched by a silky, luxuriant mid-palate and delicately integrated tannins.

Winemakers Tasting Note

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a classic profile with aromas of dark red fruits. Bright and rich on the palate, this wine is brimming with flavors of red currants and cassis and has an underlying minerality. A strong mid-palate and well integrated tannins lead to a long seamless finish. Delicious now, this wine will continue to develop for years to come. Pair with grilled steak, lamb and Italian cuisine.


The three Cabernet Sauvignon’s are available for purchase at $45 per bottle or $36 for Wine Club members and their guests. Wines are available as a three pack for an additional 10% off, at $94.50.

Reservations

Due to limited seating in the Wine Club Member Lounge, reservations are strongly suggested. All club members receive complimentary wine tasting with up to four guests. Larger groups are required to make a reservation.

Make a Reservation:

Email: memberlounge@halterranch.com

Weekdays Call: 805-226-9455

Weekends Call: 805-591-3634


The Employee Garden

HR_Garden

If you’ve been out to the winery recently you may have noticed something besides grapevines covering our beautiful landscape – the Halter Ranch Employee Garden. In the past we have had a small summer garden but this year we increased it to a quarter acre. We sat down with our Assistant Winemaker Molly Lonborg, and asked her some questions about the garden.

Molly, can you tell us about the Employee Garden and how it started?

We have a quarter acre plot of land that we have decided not to plant to grapevines, but instead leave for an employee garden to benefit all the staff. We generally plant a summer garden, and seed with cover crop in the winter, although we have planted some parts of the garden in the winter as well. Halter generously purchases all the starts and garden foundation needed to plant a successful garden. Although the specific vegetables and varieties vary each year we always have a good range of plants to provide a delicious harvest.

HR_Tomatoes

What’s currently planted in the garden?

This year we have 32 tomato plants; 18 different varietals, predominately heirloom plants with a few hybrids. Three different types of basil, including lime, amethyst, and genovese, pole beans, eggplants, peppers and squash. Zucchini, patty pan, kabocha, butternut and spaghetti. We have five different types of melons plus flowers. Adjacent to the employee garden is also an employee fruit orchard with peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries, figs, pears, apples and pomegranates.

Halter Ranch Peaches

Do staff take the produce home or is it used for communal meals?

Anything harvested from the garden is fair game for all staff members to take home. We encourage staff members to spend time in the garden helping plant, weed and maintain the plants in exchange for a bounty of vegetables.

HR_Basil_Amethyst

In the summertime many of us (myself included) will just bring bread and mozzarella, and harvest basil and tomatoes from the garden for caprese salads. If we have extra produce we will bring it to the tasting room and give it away to visitors; occasionally we will put an optional donation jar out and collect money to give to the food bank. If we have overgrown vegetables like zucchini or over-ripe tomatoes we will feed them to our flock of chickens.

Halter Ranch Basil Pesto

We try to do fun activities from extra bounty from the garden that include and benefit all the staff. For example, our basil is growing very well at the moment and since we still have some time till the tomatoes are ripe, we decided to cut back some of the basil plants (which will only benefit them in the future as they will double in size), and have a pesto making party. We cut back four out of our nine basil plants, brought in pine nuts, garlic, and blenders then used our Halter Ranch olive oil to create a big batch of fresh pesto. The four plants created ten one cup containers that were distributed to staff to use fresh or freeze for a later time.

Above you can see the staff growing basil and then making it into pesto for their lunches, yum!

Halter Ranch Melon

Do all staff pitch-in to work in the garden?

Usually yes! It can be difficult to get every staff member to help (especially because we have a lot of part-time people that only work on the weekends), but I send out staff-wide emails when we have workdays. This year when we planted our garden we had a lot of staff from the tasting room, production, admin and vineyard all pitch-in. After the planting we had a big potluck breakfast to thank everyone for the work.

Thank you Molly for all the great information about the Halter Ranch

Employee Garden – way to go team!

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