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The 2011 vintage started off cool and damp at Brothers Ridge, but with little to no frost. With almost two inches of rain in the month of June, late rains continued until July, which generated a larger than normal canopy that required careful management. The end of the rainy season led to a cool weather pattern for most of the summer, with average-high temperatures around 80 degrees for both July and August. The heat finally returned in September, with one six day stretch of temperatures in the 90s, exactly what the vintage needed. We harvested the majority of this vintage’s blend from block 1, the “greenstone” block, on October 15th and 19th, sandwiching a picking of block 8 in between on the 18th. Average brix at harvest for all blocks was 24.6 degrees. Deep dense wine bursting with complex dark red fruits like cassis, cherry and plum with hints of tobacco followed by a round and seductive mid-palate and a long, structured finish.
The Alexander Valley AVA is 22 miles long, ranging in elevation from 150 to 1,500 feet above sea level, and is home to our three single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Our winegrowers have found the very best grapes grow on higher elevated western slopes, or as they say, the “sweet spots”. Spread throughout our three vineyards, we’ve determined the best blocks are typically located just below the ridge tops with a western facing aspect to capture the full warmth and light of the afternoon sun. In the northernmost hills near our Brothers vineyard, with average growing-season temperatures of 67 degrees, heat dominates, allowing Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen well. In the middle of the valley, Rockaway vineyard, with average temperatures of 62 degrees, balances heat and Pacifi c Ocean cooling breezes – allowing for classic structure development. The even cooler Alexander’s Crown vineyard, with average temperatures of 59 degrees in the southern valley, yields more delicate, “feminine”style Cabernet Sauvignon. In the distance of only 12 short miles, average temperatures change eight degrees among our vineyards during growing season, thereby allowing three very different expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the hills to the east of the small town of Cloverdale, Brothers spans 141 acres,nearly all planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, with smaller amounts of other Bordeaux-style varieties. The vineyard is on well-drained loam underlain by sandstone, shale, and ancient greenstone. Its elevations, surpassing 1,000 feet, and its primarily western aspect perfectly situate the vines to capture the full warmth and light of the afternoon sun, ripening Cabernet well into the chocolate and black fruit profile, with exceptional richness.