2016 Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Lake County
Shortly after the Iron Curtain fell, brothers Arpad and Peter Molnar took a trip to Hungary to pay homage the lineage of their family. During their enlightening voyage, they learned that they are descendants of a long-line of coopers. For centuries, their family owned a cooperage, making barrels out of Hungarian oak, but had lost the business in the midst of the country’s civil unrest. Shortly after this trip, the brothers worked tirelessly to finance and bring the family cooperageback to life. In only five years, they were selling enough barrels in the Napa Valley to afford to buy vineyard land at what is now Obsidian Ridge in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County.
To say the Red Hills AVA is rugged would be an understatement. It’s hot, arid, steep and very difficult to traverse. However, it is here that the Molnar brothers, using the sweat of their own brows and the determination that made their resurrected cooperage successful, tilled the land to break apart the incredibly rigid obsidian rocks and planted their own beautiful vineyard. The brothers used their own Kadar barrels to create one of the most intriguing Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines we’ve ever enjoyed for the price. The obsidian rock is tremendously important,as it creates a very unique microclimate in the vineyard. Its shiny surface reflects the sunshine upwards onto the grapes, while its black color absorbs the heat during the day and radiates it back throughout the night. This adds an additional layer of ripeness that other vineyards in the area are not able to achieve.
Obsidian Ridge’s 2016 Estate Cabernet is very mineral-driven on the nose with refined aromas of freshly chopped herbs and a layer of gorgeous dark cassis. These are only a prelude to the silky ripe plum and blackberry flavors which completely coat the palate. A soft touch of vanilla adds to the allure of this polished offering without dominating the flavor; this is the beauty of Hungarian oak. This oak type has one of the tightest grains in the world, so the wine does not absorb too much of the spice or toasted flavors that are typically associated with California Cabernet. This subtle beauty is what makes Obsidian Ridge such a special wine. This is a great wine to buy in volume and drink over the course of a couple of years. The transformation will be impressive and exciting every step of the way.