Friday, February 19, 2010

Cable Bay Winery – Amazing Views and Art

(Feb. 10, 2010) Next stop was Cable Bay Winery, which was in an impressive modern style building with an amazing hilltop view of the ocean. They also had an outdoor sculpture garden with unique modern pieces, and a famous gourmet restaurant. The vineyards on the hillside were surrounded by tall hedges to protect them from the winds. I had never seen this layout before, and was told it was a lot of work to keep the very tall hedges trimmed. No wonder the wines from this island are so expensive – lots of work in the vineyard, and small production quantities.

After viewing the sculpture garden, we were invited into the tank room where we met with the winemaker, one of the owners, and tasted through 4 wines. The first was the 2008 Cable Bay Viogner, which was made in a dry style, but still had the faint apricot and more viscous body of viogner. It was nice, but had a bitter finish and would probably have done better with food. Next was the 2008 Cable Bay Chardonnay, which was my favorite. It was delicate and lemon and tart apple, but also had good texture, a long finish, no ML and very little oak. Very refreshing and elegant. This was followed by a 2007 Cable Bay Syrah, which was fruity, but rather light. Most people said this was their favorite of the tasting, and I had to admit that it was good, but I prefer a bigger style syrah. We ended with a 2006 Cable Bay Cabernet/Malbec, which again had the green edge. It probably would pair well with a big charred steak, but wasn’t that pleasant to drink on its own.

I asked for more detail on how they made the syrah, and the winemaker said it was hand-picked/sorted at 2 tones per acre; destemmed; and then went through a 2 day cold-soak. They sometimes start fermentation in tank with natural yeast, but usually add commercial yeast to make sure it keeps going. Ferment temp is 30 – 32C and they do pumpovers 4 to 8 times per day until the wine is ½ complete. They also do ML in tank and then a very long extended maceration of 10 to 30 days, protected by CO2. They only use the free run juice from the tank (no pressing), and employ a unique process of spreading the must along the walls of the tank overnight to get the last portion of free run. Aging is 12 months in French oak, 40 to 50% new.

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