2018 The Crash
Winemaker Notes: Each component of The Crash has its distinctive character. Combined into a clearly proprietary blend, every year offers variation, but every year is also just as clearly The Crash, a wine named to honor a military plane crash on the Steinbeck property in 1956.
The backbone of this blend has always been Cabernet Sauvignon, and in years past had a higher component of Zinfandel to add fruit and mid-palate weight. Starting in 2018, however, our Merlot program increased in both quality and quantity, allowing a larger addition. Without tasting like a Bordeaux blend, the Merlot compliments the Cabernet Sauvignon like puzzle pieces linking together. The zinfandel still adds fruit but also adds white pepper and mineral. The Petite Sirah, in typical Petite Sirah fashion, attempts to overwhelm this wine during the blending process, and even a half of a percent too much makes it a Petite Sirah blend, even if its only 5%. The Viognier is something of a wonder, instead of adding “white wine-ness” it lifts the heaviness of the dark reds, and elevates the aromas in combination so no one varietal is pointed out.
All of the reds were fermented on skins, with the cabernet and merlot picking up a little extended maceration. The Zinfandel was pressed before dryness to keep a specific flavor profile, and the Petite Sirah was pressed before it could become too monstrous to manage. The viognier component is actually a combination of the pressing fractions from 2017 and 2018, with silky texture and a more neutral than flowery aroma.
This was my second harvest with Steinbeck, and the first year I was officially part of the winemaking team for more than just the busy season. Being able to work on this wine throughout its development, to be part of the blending process, to see it head to bottle, and release it has been thoroughly rewarding. This wine, more than anything, gives you a true taste of Steinbeck Vineyards.
Winemaker - Bryan Widstrand