2004 St Clement Cabernet Sauvignon Armstrong Ranch Diamond Mountain District
Complex aromas of bittersweet chocolate, black currant and roasted chestnut greet the nose. The palate features flavors of roasted coffee, blackberry jam and dark chocolate. Aging in 100 percent new French oak for nineteen months gives the wine notes of caramelized vanilla, clove and cinnamon.
The vineyards, planted in the 1980’s to Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon, are located on extreme hillsides with varying orientations and elevations. Due to the varying row orientations and sun exposure to the vines, the vineyard was picked 3 times over a period of 20 days starting on September 2nd. In 2004, Diamond Mountain experienced an incredibly early bud break, which in turn lead to an early harvest. We harvested the grapes from this vineyard 3 weeks earlier than previous vintages. Armstrong Ranch experiences cool morning and evening temperatures as a result of its elevation (850 to 1200 ft). But warm daytime temperatures due to its distance from the San Pablo Bay provide an ideal ripening period, developing incredibly rich flavors and a complex tannin structure.
The soils are replete with volcanic glass, formed when hot ash fell to the ground and cooled virtually instantaneously which formed a glass that has no crystalline structure. Volcanic glass is black and breaks with a curved (conchoidal) fracture, much like thick window glass when it chips.
The wine starts with aromas of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, black tea, brambles, blackberry jam, red cherry, and blueberry jam. Some smoke, leather, anise, and cola come from the 100% new French oak barrels the wine was aged in for 18 months. In the palate there are rich flavors of coffee, vanilla, clove, toasted oak, orange blossom, coco powder, dark chocolate, and roasted bell peppers. This rich, full bodied wine finishes with robust tannin and structure, a classic characteristic of Diamond Mountain fruit. The wine has a depth and balance that will ensure its longevity in the bottle.