Cassis/currant, spices like a freshly baked oatmeal cookie where both nutmeg and allspice are used. It lays broadly and evenly on the palate with savory, earthy, red fruits, dark fruits and baking spices all taking turns. According to Antonio Galloni in Vinous recently, “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Scherrer Vineyard is laced with dark cherry, plum, chocolate, grilled herbs, menthol, licorice and smoke. Pliant and resonant in the glass, with terrific supporting structure, the 2015 Scherrer is a bit darker and more powerful than the straight [Alexander Valley] Cabernet, but the two wines aren’t as differentiated as they can be, another signature of this freakish vintage. 93 points.”
In 2015 the bloomtime weather was a bit erratic giving a range of ripeness levels to berries on the same cluster, just as with our Zinfandels and Pinot Noirs from the vintage. It required a slightly different strategy to decide when to harvest and it paid off big time as shown with these other varieties as proof. I have been a proponent of some level of ripeness variability of red varieties for some time (Zinfandel trains one to embrace this for sure). Lately, I have heard from colleagues who work at bigger budget operations that use optical sorting machines after destemming that as a result of trials comparing the new tech with traditional hand sorting before the destemming machine they have turned down the sensitivity of the optical sorting in order to allow a bit more variability making the wines ‘more interesting.’ This is another example of getting too much of what you ask for: over-sorting.
Cabernet Sauvignon, I think, is less accepting of great ripeness variably due to the characteristics of the fruit itself than there is with, say Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. But again, I find that seeing some small level of variation is actually a plus, adding more ‘shading’ and layering to the fruit characters. We used to have multiple vintages of Scherrer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon available to restaurants and to you directly. At that time, I had hoped we would not have quite so many to choose from at one time. In the past two years, we have been cleaned out to the point of being ‘off the market’ for months awaiting the next vintage showing about what I think it should. I’ll be more careful what I wish for in the future.