2020 Block 15
This will likely be my last bottling of varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, at least for the foreseeable future. After many vintages of beautiful wines from Block 15 at the Estelle Vineyard, a good question would be, why? Well, it's because Santa Barbara County, with its diversity of microclimates and new appellations, has exploded in terms of all the new and exciting grape varieties that have been planted over the last five years. Opportunities now abound with varieties like Petit Verdot, Carignan, Mencia and more! In this new reality, I’m like a winemaker in a very big, very exciting candy store, and I simply must pursue some of these new sensations and flavors. That said, I can’t do it all, and in the name of not biting off more than I can chew, I’ll be taking sort of a break from the most well-known Bordeaux Variety, Cabernet Sauvignon. My personal opinion is that the best, most exciting Bordeaux Variety at this point in Santa Barbara County is Petit Verdot (probably followed by Cabernet Franc). Essentially, it’s a total enigma. In most places, Napa, Bordeaux, Washington State, etc., Petit Verdot is incorporated into Bordeaux Style blends in very small percentages, like 5% or less. Yet, going forward, it’s going to be the lead horse in my Bordeaux blends. I will actually continue making very small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon for these blends, just not bottling them as Cabernet Sauvignon. Basically, this new direction will be an effort take my Bordeaux Styled blends under the FATHOM label to the next level. This last 2020 Block 15 Cabernet is a classic, spicy, terroir driven, expression of the Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet. I should also mention that, while this wine may be the last of its kind, it’s not like Cabernet Sauvignon will be disappearing from our tasting room anytime soon. I am in now in the process of loading the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Block 15 vintages into the library. So, there will be beautifully aged Block 15 available in the Tasting Room for years to come. For me, this 2020 Block 15 serves as a symbol of growth and excitement as we move forward on the journey of making the best wines possible.