Vintage 2008 began with short-lived winter storms that led into the second dry Spring in a row, with a little more than 60 percent of normal rainfall. Dry conditions contributed to early budbreak, followed by the three weeks of severe frost, the worst in years. Areas like Howell Mountain were particularly hard-hit, but the upper valley escaped with little damage. Fruit set in May and June was off by as much as 25 percent. Summer temperatures were cool, but even so, harvest began early, if slowly, because of low crop levels.
2008 Phenomenon is gemlike brilliant garnet. Aromas of pure cherry and wild berries burst from the glass, followed as the wine airs by subtle scents of dark spice, savory herbs and sweet oak. At first taste, bright red and black fruit flavors are layered on firm tannins and moderately full body; complex tones of leather, licorice, figs and chocolate follow, carrying on to the finish. Drink now, but save some for the cellar!
Vineyards - Benessere Estate, North St. Helena
Blend Composition - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Sangiovese, 12% Merlot, 3% Syrah
Finished pH - 3.60
Finished TA - 3.1 g/liter
Alcohol - 14.5% by volume
Production - 337 cases
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