Welcome to EMH’s website and the release of “Black Cat” 2014!
The 2014 EMH Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon is our 15th vintage, continuing the line of wine produced from single-vineyard fruit grown on EMH’s property. On August 30th of 2014, we harvested 3.1 tons of our Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the largest yield in recent EMH history. The harvest date itself was somewhat early for our early-ripening site, although we did harvest on August 30th, as well, for the 2007 vintage. The 2014 growing season was not particularly challenging, although it certainly is memorable for being one of “the drought years.” The focus on irrigation for a heavy crop did not go unnoticed! However, from the dormant vine to budbreak and flowering, to fruit set and veraison, everything was marked by evenness – including the lack of rainfall. The wine is lovely, and it certainly proves to me that higher yields do not always mean lower quality. Certainly not here for this vintage!
Thirty-five cases of this vintage were bottled as our “Special Selection,” along with approximately 130 cases of our “regular” Black Cat, both in the 750ml format. Additionally, we also produced 48 bottles in the 1.5 Liter size of the Special Selection. This is the second time the Special has been produced in this magnum format.
In honor of Sparkles, EMH’s original “real” black cat, we produced a mere 20 cases of a “first-and-only-time” label named “Sparkles Selection.” Also unique to this bottling is the fact that for the first time in our history, this wine was pulled from a single barrel. For those who are curious, it was barrel number eight from the cooper Nadalie (who provides these French oak barrels from a location here in Calistoga). It was used once previously, for about 15 months, for our 2013 vintage. Some barrels just have a calling….
As a vintage, the 2014 vintage saw 25% new French oak, the others coming from our own stash of once and more-than-once used barrels. The vintage was picked at 24.1 Brix. Finished alcohols have come in at 14.0 and 14.1%.
Our tiny operation produces wine exclusively from Cabernet grapes grown on our less-than-an-acre vineyard, with no additions of purchased fruit. What is in the bottle directly represents what is grown in our vineyard. Most people who taste more than one vintage of EMH’s Black Cat are impressed with the consistency of quality and character emerging from each vintage we produce. We hope you will enjoy the 2014, and that you will discover for yourself what makes the Black Cat so special.
2014 EMH Black Cat tasting notes – assembled by our small staff of tasting associates:
“Wild brambly fruit, with notes of anise, mint, and plum. A classic Black Cat palate of bright cherries, with accents of cocoa, cedar, and spice. Medium body and tannins, with a long, lingering, balanced finish.”
Looking Ahead 2015 and 2016
2015 was marked by some freezing temperatures and the need for frost protection in April. We moved from budbreak through bloom and fruit set cautiously, although there is nothing a farmer can do about the weather. The lack of winter rains affected some of the canopy, and veraison appeared early, again, with more than 50% color showing by mid-July. We brought in a scant 2.2 tons of fruit on August 22nd – the earliest date in our history. People ask why we harvested so early, and I have only one answer: because it was ready! We have 6 barrels of wine sitting in French oak, a combination of Marchive and Nadalie barrels.
The 2016 growing season is off to a great start – mostly due to the return of a winter of normal rainfall. As of this writing, bloom has turned to fruit set, and we anxiously await what this vintage will bring. No vintage is the same.
So welcome, or welcome back! We look forward to hearing from you.
Enjoy and cheers!
Merrill Lindquist, Grower/Owner, EMH Vineyards